Swananda MaratheInspire faculty fellow
E-Mail : swanand[at]iisc.ac.in
Role of astrocytes in behavior and disease
Although how neurons influence behavior has been investigated in great detail, there has been little clarity on the role played by astrocytes, a far more abundant cell type, in orchestrating behavior. Astrocytes form an integral part of the synaptic machinery and a single astrocyte can contact and influence the function of about 1,00,000 synapses. They are highly important for normal synaptic function and many brain disorders are associated with astrocytic dysfunction. We are interested in studying how astrocytes and neurons communicate with each other to modulate synaptic plasticity. We investigate the role of astrocytes in behavior with a particular emphasis on mood-related disorders such as anxiety and depression. We are currently studying Jagged-Notch signaling at astrocyte-neuron interfaces.
We use wide ranging experimental techniques involving molecular biology, pharmacology, histology, behavioral experiments, confocal and immuno-electron microscopy and proteomics. We also use genetically modified mice and viral transductions to effect gene delivery.