“If you’re talking about what you can feel, what you can smell, what you can taste and see, then ‘real’ is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain.” [Morpheus, The Matrix]
This is an extremely simplified layman’s version, but in short it is what captures my interest. My research mainly focuses on how specific behaviors are coded in a network of neurons and their connections, and how changes in their connectivity and/or activity patterns result in behavioral or perceptual alterations. I use in vivo 2-photon calcium imaging and synaptic labeling, to study neuronal activity and connectivity during specific behaviors.
Rajeev finished his medical degree in 2000, (Medical College Thiruvananthapuram, India), and after a short stint as Lecturer in Anatomy, (Medical College Alleppey, India), he shifted his focus to basic research in Neuroscience. He received his PhD, for studies on the role of Sonic Hedgehog, a developmental signaling molecule, in animal models of stress and depression, and its regulation by therapeutic interventions, in the group of Vidita Vaidya, TIFR, Mumbai. In 2010, he moved to Amsterdam for his first postdoc in the lab of Christiaan Levelt, NIN, to study the role of inhibitory neurons in ocular dominance plasticity. One of his projects led to the developmental of a pioneering technique to label and trace inhibitory synapses in vivo, and showed that cortical plasticity involves increased turnover of inhibitory synapses. This study, published in Neuron, was also covered by the dutch newspaper De Volkskrant and De Groene Amsterdammer magazine. He has recently shifted to Social Brain lab to focus on cellular basis of Empathy.