Sucharita Saha received her PhD in neuroscience from Northeastern University (Boston, MA,USA), with training and expertise in multi-photon imaging and application to axonal regeneration and mapping of brain circuits. For her doctoral research, she focused on exploring the regenerative capabilities of the roughly 40 types of descending brainstem neurons in the larval zebrafish, with single-cell precision. As a method in improving our understanding the of loss of sensory signals and motor signals below the spinal cord injury, she assessed the degree to which the CNS of the larval zebrafish provides an environment that allows regeneration of functionally correct spinal connections. Using confocal and 2-photon imaging she was able to identify neurons disconnected from their spinal targets, thus allowing visualization of the time-course of regeneration of descending axons as well as assessing a broad range of motor functions based on an array of locomotor movements ranging from simple maneuvers to highly complex behaviors. As an IGERT (NSF) fellow she also worked to determine the effects of DNA- and RNA-functionalized nanoparticles to zebrafish brainstem neurons for improving axonal regeneration and functional recovery. Additionally, she evaluated the use of nanowire arrays to stimulate spinal regeneration and elicit locomotor movements in spinal-injured larval zebrafish. Her interests and responsibilities as a postdoctoral research associate, center upon developing an understanding of how the long-range brain circuits connect to the nucleus accumbens (NucAcc) in shaping synaptic plasticity. By using high resolution 2-photon laser scanning microscopy (LSM) and whole-cell patch clamp she is working on further developing our knowledge of how electrical properties invade the dendritic arbors of medium-spiny neurons in the NucAcc. The sum of these projects is the basis for establishing our understanding of how synaptic plasticity evolves as a result of alcohol addiction.
Axonal regeneration, Synaptic Plasticity, Brain circuitry, Calcium Imaging, Dendritic Spines