Ajinkya Deogade

Ajinkya Deogade

Host Institution

Center for Genomic Regulation
Contact details

Louis Lab
Systems Biology Unit
Center for Genomic Regulation (CRG)
+34 685236699














Background and previous research experience

Science has been a perpetual source of motivation for me. I have been fascinated by the nature and enjoyed searching for logical answers to the questions in my mind. Brain in general enthrals me and always amazes me with its ability to marshal and accomplish complex tasks. Highlight of my undergraduate studies is strong academic and research training. I obtained my masters degree (BS-MS) in Biology from IISER Pune, India. At IISER a rigorous course work in biology along with fundamental lessons in physics, chemistry and mathematics cultivated an interdisciplinary attitude. I took conscious effort to be part of research projects in diverse sub-disciplines of biology including microbiology, bioinformatics, cancer biology and neurosciences. Each project helped me immensely. For instance the project in microbiology gave me insights in microscopy and statistical tools. Similarly, project in bioinformatics, trained me in computer programming. I was part of international summer program at Ohio State University, where I worked on hepatocellular carcinoma and its transcriptional regulation. In my fourth year of undergraduate studies, I started investigating the neuro-modulatory capabilities of neuropeptide Y (NPY) in the olfactory system of zebrafish. This project has been instrumental in crystallizing my decision to pursue science as a career. These projects have not only pruned my critical thinking but also helped me in developing skills in behavioral protocols, zebrafish brain intracranial injections, cryosectioning, immunostaining, western blotting and quantitative PCR.

Main areas of interest

Behavior not only shows the brain’s capability to marshal simple tasks like walking and drawing but to think beyond the horizon. My motivation to study neuroscience rests in information processing capabilities of neuronal circuits that lead to diverse behaviors. Using my current research and academic knowledge of neuroscience, I intend to exploit neuroanatomy, genetics and development to resolve circuit-computation-behavior conundrum.  My major interest is, how the neuronal circuitry orchestrates different physiological mechanisms to achieve homeostasis? Animal’s behavior is the result of the cross-talk between this internal physiological state and the brain. I am interested in how is this cross-talk mediated by the brain to produce specific behaviors. One more intriguing aspect of brain is its ability to discern between relevant and the unimportant input information from the vast amount of input signals. This raises the question how is the sensory input processed to produce a specific motor behavior?  Using powerful optogenetic and calcium imaging techniques coupled with behavioral paradigms I would like to decipher the computational potential of nervous system as an orchestrator of sensory-motor coordination.  My interest in understanding the brain has grown throughout my undergraduate education. In future I am looking forward to establish a career as a neuroscientist. My goal as a neuroscientist will be to find an integrated theory for the functioning of the complex brain.

FLiACT project

In my research project I will be broadly focused on the neuronal control of the sensory perception at the circuit level to produce a stereotyped motor output. The fruit fly Drosophila larva shows a repertoire of stereotyped behaviors with a simple underlying neural system. The big question of the current project is to understand the neural basis of chemotactic behavior in the drosophila larva. The current project will be explored in four segments: 1. Create virtual reality paradigm for larval chemotaxis 2. Develop optogenetic tools to perturb and manipulate circuits underlying chemotaxis 3. Study integration of olfactory input into orientation decisions and explore role of memory in chemotaxis and orientation decisions 4. Study the role of bilateral olfactory circuits in orientation decisions.