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Sashi Kesavapany, PhD
Nanyang Technological University
Areas of Interest:
Alzheimer's disease; neurodegeneration; neuroprotection; brain reserve; environmental enrichment; neuronal morphology; basal forebrain cholinergic system; pharmacological agents; neurotrophins; animal models; animal behavioural testing.
Biography & Research:
I possess more than 15 years of academic neuroscience research experience and five and a half years of pharmaceutical drug discovery experience in neurodegenerative diseases. Having completed by BSc. (Honours) in Biochemistry from Imperial College, I completed my PhD in molecular neuroscience from the Institute of Psychiatry (IOP), King’s College London under the supervision of Prof Chris Miller and Prof Chris Shaw where I worked on molecular interactions of Cyclin dependent kinase 5 (Cdk5) in the development and disorder of the CNS. During this time, I discovered a novel interacting kinase called CPRK which has since been shown to be integral in axonal function (Kesavapany S et al., J Neurosci. 2003). After completion of my first post-doctoral stint at the IOP where I worked with the neuronal adaptor protein Fe65 and continued work with Cdk5, I moved to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), National Institutes of Health in 2002 where I worked under the supervision of Dr Harish Pant. I continued to study Cdk5 function in CNS development as well as its involvement in CNS degeneration reminiscent of changes found in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease (Zheng YL, and Kesavapany S et al., EMBO J. 2005 ; Kesavapany S, et al., J Neurosci). In 2006, I returned to Singapore as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biochemistry of the National University of Singapore. Here, I conducted independent research into mechanisms of neuronal death, primarily in the Alzheimer’s disease space using both in vitro and in vivo models. This work uncovered novel mechanisms in neuroinflammation in CNS degeneration (Sundaram JR and Kesavapany S. J Neurosci. 2012; Sundaram JR and Kesavapany S. J Neurosci. 2013). In 2009 joined the GlaxoSmithKline Neural Pathways Discovery Performance Unit to gain experience in drug discovery where I managed the in vitro neurobiology team, leading discovery programmes at the Target ID, Hit ID/screening, Lead ID and phenotypic screening campaigns. I have managed a number of target validation, biomarker and compound studies in Huntington’s and ALS disease paradigms. Additionally, I led the GSK iPSC workstream in neuroscience, a global effort to expedite the use of human patient lines and cell types in disease biology especially in screening. I joined the Nanyang Technological University Institute for Health Technologies to continue to work on human physiology and translational biology approaches in neurodegenerative diseases and my academic and industrial experience places me in an excellent position to do this.