Dr. Pradeep Punnakal is a Ramalingaswami Fellow in Molecular Medicine at the Applied Biology BMT wing of the Sree Chitra Institute for Medical sciences and Technology, Trivandrum, Kerala. His areas of interest include – Ion channels/Receptors and GPCRs in Neurological disorders, Identification of molecular markers for disease diagnosis, Developing invitro diagnostics and Neuroprosthetics.
Dr. Pradeep completed his BSc. and MSc. from the University of Calicut, Kerala, India and proceeded to complete his PhD. in molecular neurobiology at the Max-Planck Institute for Medical Research, Heidelberg, Germany. After his PhD., he worked as a Postdoctoral scientist at the Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology under Prof. Hanns Ulrich Zeilhofer at the University of Zurich and ETH, Switzerland.
He continued as senior postdoctoral scientist at Biozentrum/Pharmazentrum, University of Basel, Switzerland following which he was awarded the Ramalingaswami Fellow at his present institute.
He has been awarded grants for his research in neuropharmacology from the DBT and the Ramanujan fellowship by DST. He has been invited as a speaker at many conferences across India and abroad. He has multiple pubications to his credit in various international and national journals of repute.
At APPICON 2018, he will be speaking on NMDA receptors and their role in epilepsy.
NMDA receptors (NMDARs) play a key role in synaptic plasticity, learning and memory and excitotoxicity. The role of NMDAR subtypes in various disease conditions is a new topic of interest. Epilepsy is caused by the change in excitatory to inhibitory ratio in the brain. The excitatory neurotransmission is mainly through the ionotropic glutamate receptors (AMPA, NMDA and Kainate). Here we studied the role of NMDAR subtypes in epileptiform activity in rat brain slices. We induced epileptiform activity in rat brain slices by perfusing artificial cerebrospinal fluid containing high potassium (7.5 mM) and lacks magnesium (HK-ACSF). We recorded epileptiform activity from CA1 and dendate gyrus areas of the hippocampus and studied the role of NMDAR subtypes in epileptiform activity in the rat brain slices. The latency for the epileptiform events were comparable between CA1 and dendate gyrus, and did not change within the age group we studied. Application of NMDAR antagonists reduced the epileptic events significantly in hippocampal slices; furthermore there was an area specific, subtype dependent and developmental attribution of NMDAR subtypes to the epileptiform activity.
NMDA receptor GluN2 subtypes control epileptiform events in the hippocampus