Sajikumar obtained his Ph.D in 2005 from the Leibniz Institute for Neurobiology (LIN), Otto-von-Guericke University, Magdeburg, Germany. He did his Ph.D research on the fundamental mechanisms of memory and further investigated the role of metaplasticity on associative memory at cellular level.
His research on synaptic tagging and capture has uncovered many important mechanisms and molecules for the establishment of associative plasticity and memory. Many computational models for associative long-term memories were proposed based on his cross- tagging (Cross-Capture) study published in 2004. He has a long-standing interest in the neural basis of long-term memory and has published 43 peer reviewed research papers.
Since 2012, he is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Physiology, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine at the National University of Singapore. He has edited a book on ‘Synaptic Tagging and Capture’ published by Springer, USA and more than 7000 copies were sold till May 2018. Recently he has edited a special issue “MCCS: From Synapses to Behavior” for the journal, Neurobiology of Learning and Memory. He is in the editorial board of prestigious international journals such as Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, Experimental Brain Research and Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience.
He has been serving as a F1000 faculty member for cognitive neuroscience category since October 2017. He is a recipient of Young Neuroscientist Award-2017 from Singapore Neuroscience Association and Faculty Research Excelence-2018 (FRE) form NUS school of medicine.
His work has been well supported over the years from prestigious funding bodies including the Alexander von Humboldt foundation, Germany, Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Germany, the National Medical Research Council, Singapore and the Ministry of Education in Singapore.
The p75 neurotrophin receptor is a necessary mediator of synaptic and behavioral changes induced by sleep deprivation
Sleep deprivation (SD) interferes with cognitive functions, specifically hippocampal synaptic plasticity, including the long-lasting form of synaptic plasticity such as late long-term potentiation (late-LTP) and memory consolidation. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying these effects are not completely understood.
I will present data on how SD impairs the cellular associative mechanism such as synaptic tagging and capture (STC), a major mechanism of associative learning and memory. The mutant mice lacking the p75 neurotrophin receptor (p75NTR) are resistant to the effects of SD on late-LTP and STC, both at cellular and behavioral levels.
Mechanistically, deletion of p75NTR prevents the upregulation of phosphodiesterase PDE4A5 and decrease in BDNF, ERK1/2 and CREB activation that normally accompany SD. Our results identify p75NTR as an important mediator of the synaptic changes associated with SD, and suggest that targeting p75NTR could be a promising strategy to limit the cognitive deficits that accompany sleep loss.