Dr. Dhanisha Jhaveri received her PhD from the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), India. Under the supervision of Professor Veronica Rodrigues, she elucidated the molecular mechanisms that wire the olfactory axons in the fly (Drosophila) brain. In recognition of her doctoral work she was awarded the Indian National Science Academy medal for Young Scientist of the Year in 2003. Fascinated by the discovery that the production of new neurons continues in the adult brain, she then joined the laboratory of Professor Perry Bartlett at the Queensland Brain Institute as a Human Frontiers Science Program Postdoctoral Fellow. Here she initiated studies that examined the effects of clinical antidepressants on adult neural stem cells and made the seminal discovery that a subclass of clinical antidepressants directly activates stem cells via a novel pathway. She pioneered the development of a new cell-sorting protocol to purify neural stem cells and provided the first evidence that at least two distinct populations of these stem cells exist in the adult hippocampus, a key brain region implicated in regulating mood and cognitive functions. In 2016, she was appointed as a joint Mater Foundation Senior Research Fellow at the Mater Research Institute-University of Queensland and a Group Leader at the Queensland Brain Institute. She now leads a research program investigating the regulation and functional contribution of these distinct neural stem cell populations in the adult brain, which will guide regenerative strategies to relieve the emotional and cognitive burdens associated with stress and depression.
We are interested in understanding the fundamental mechanisms that drive the renewal of neurons in the adult brain and harness this form of neural plasticity to relieve the emotional and cognitive burdens associated with chronic stress and depression. The discovery of neural stem cells capable of generating new, functional neurons (i.e. neurogenesis) in the adult mammalian brain has led to a paradigm shift in neuroscience. The hippocampus is one such area where new neurons are generated and integrated into the existing neural circuitry throughout life, making a significant contribution to the regulation of mood and cognition. However, our understanding of how these newborn neurons regulate such diverse brain functions remains incomplete.
Our studies have revealed that distinct populations of quiescent stem cells that are activated by multiple, discrete neurochemical signals exist in the adult hippocampus. Our current efforts are focused on understanding the molecular and functional potential of these distinct stem cells, how their activity is modulated by stress, and what role they play in the regulation of mood versus cognition in mouse models of depression/anxiety. We are also interested in determining whether new neurons confer behavioural resilience and are important during recovery following chronic stress. A key aspect of our research program is to determine whether selective activation of quiescent neural stem cells could provide a new approach for the treatment of depressive/anxiety disorders and lead to the development of novel, effective and safe antidepressants.
Highly motivated students and postdocs interested in joining the lab, please contact Dr Dhanisha Jhaveri (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Jhaveri DJ, O'Keeffe I, Robinson GJ, Zhao QY, Zhang ZH, Nink V, Narayanan RK, Osborne GW, Wray NR, and Bartlett PF (2015) Purification of neural precursor cells reveals the presence of distinct, stimulus-specific subpopulations of quiescent precursors in the adult mouse hippocampus. Journal of Neuroscience 35:8132-8144.
Jhaveri DJ, Nanavaty I, Prosper BW, Marathe S, Kernie SG, Bartlett PF, and Vaidya VA (2014) Opposing effects of α2- and β-adrenergic receptor stimulation on quiescent neural precursor cell activity and adult hippocampal neurogenesis. PLoS One e98736.
Saharan S, Jhaveri DJ and Bartlett PF (2013) SIRT1 regulates the neurogenic potential of neural precursors in the adult subventricular zone and hippocampus. Journal of Neuroscience Research 91:642-659.
Jhaveri DJ, Taylor CJ, and Bartlett PF (2012) Activation of different neural precursor populations in the adult hippocampus: does this lead to new neurons with discrete functions? Developmental Neurobiology 72:1044-1058.
Jhaveri DJ, Mackay EW, Hamlin AS, Marathe SV, Nandam LS, Vaidya VA, and Bartlett PF (2010) Norepinephrine directly activates adult hippocampal precursors via β3 adrenergic receptors. Journal of Neuroscience 30: 2795-2806.
Yanpallewar SU, Fernandes K, Marathe SV, Vadodaria KC, Jhaveri D, Rommelfanger K, Ladiwala U, Jha S, Muthig V, Hein L, Bartlett P, Weinshenker D, and Vaidya VA (2010) α2-adrenoceptor blockade accelerates the neurogenic, neurotrophic, and behavioral effects of chronic antidepressant treatment. Journal of Neuroscience, 30:1096-1109.