People

Vidita Vaidya

Senior Professor

Vidita Vaidya received her undergraduate degree from St. Xavier's College, Mumbai in Life-Science and Biochemistry. She obtained her PhD in Neuroscience at Yale University in the lab of Prof. Ronald Duman. Her postdoctoral work was done at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden with Prof. Ernest Arenas and at the University of Oxford in the UK with Prof. David Grahame-Smith. She joined the Department of Biological Sciences, TIFR, as a faculty member in March 2000. Her research group's work has been recognized by the National Bioscientist Award in 2012, the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Award in Medical Sciences in 2015, and the Infosys Prize in Life Sciences in 2022. In 2019, Vidita received the Nature Award for Mentoring in Science in the mid-career category and in 2021 the JC Bose National Fellowship from the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB). Vidita is a Fellow of the Indian National Science Academy (INSA), the National Academy of Sciences, India (NASI) and the Indian Academy of Sciences (IAS), as well as a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Indian Institute of Technology – Bombay. When not in the lab, Vidita moonlights as an avid storyteller, frequent traveler, and a scientific outreach enthusiast. Vidita is committed to enhancing equity and diversity in academia, and working to break down the barriers that prevent academic working environments from being inclusive spaces.   

Pratik Chaudhari 

India Alliance DBT WT Early Career Fellow

Pratik did his Masters in Medical Biotechnology from Pravara Institute of Medical Sciences, Ahmednagar. He did his Ph.D. project in Dr. Milind Vaidya’s lab, ACTREC, Navi Mumbai where he studied the role of hemidesmosomal linker proteins in progression of oral cancer. He joined Vidita's lab in December 2017. His primary research question is to address the influence of a history of early adversity on mitochondrial function, as well as the consequences on both peripheral and central inflammation across the lifespan. He is motivated to assess the influence of interventional strategies that may reverse early adversity induced accelerated aging and altered mitostatic balance. He is highly passionate about sports and gardening. 

Balaganesh Janakiraman

India Alliance DBT WT Early Career Fellow

Balaganesh obtained his PhD in molecular mechanisms of asymmetric cell division in bacteria from Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER-TVM), Thiruvananthapuram (2018). He is primarily interested in Philosophy of Science, History of Everything, Role of information storage and dissemination in biological systems and enjoys problem solving. His work in the Vaidya lab is focussed on fast-acting antidepressants treatments and epigenetic modifications that drive neuroplasticity. During breaks, he can be seen doing trekking, weekend cycling trips to random locations and enjoying local culture and cuisine and appreciating art.  

Aastha Singla

Graduate Student

Aastha completed her Bachelor's degree in Zoology, Botany, and Chemistry from Panjab University, Chandigarh. In the lab, she studies the effects of physical exercise on neuronal bioenergetics and the genetic basis of variation in exercise responses. She is also interested in investigating the molecular pathways that mediate the neurometabolic effects of serotonergic psychedelics. When not doing science, she can be found dancing, exploring food joints,  or playing table tennis.

Suchith Mendon

Graduate Student

Suchith obtained his bachelor's in microbiology, biotechnology and chemistry from Ramaiah College of Arts, Science and Commerce, Bengaluru, and a master's degree in Human Disease Genetics from the Centre for Human Genetics, Bengaluru. He is interested in exploring the role of life history in regulating psychedelic-mediated effects on emotional states. His hobbies include singing, playing musical instruments like the keyboard, and exploring various cuisines. 

Ratna Mahathi Vuruputuri

Graduate Student

Mahathi has completed her Bachelor's degree in Genetics and Biotechnology from the University College for Women, Koti, Hyderabad, and her Master's degree in Biochemistry from the University of Hyderabad. She is interested in studying the neurocircuitry of psychedelic-mediated behaviors. Apart from Science, she is very passionate about classical music and is a trained Carnatic singer. Outside of the lab, you can find her singing, listening to music, exploring food joints, or hanging out with friends.

Ishanee Mazumder

Graduate Student

Ishanee has completed her Integrated B.Tech & M.Tech in Biotechnology from Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology, Bhubaneswar. Her interest lies in Neuropsychopharmacology. In addition to her interest in science, she enjoys painting, dancing, and traveling. 

Email:  ishanee.mazumder@tifr.res.in

Amogh BJ

Masters Student

Amogh completed his Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery from Government Medical College, Thiruvananthapuram. His areas of academic interest include the biological basis of mental health, neuroscience, epidemiology and medical education. His hobbies include painting and performing stage magic. 

Mukund Sharma

Masters Student

Mukund completed his Bachelors in Mathematics and Chemistry from St. Stephen's College, Delhi. He loves to describe himself as a chemist-turned-biologist. He is an avid reader with his interests spanning spy thrillers, war history. His hobbies include playing basketball and collecting coins.

Utkarsha Ghai

Research Associate

Utkarsha received her B.Sc. in Biochemistry from the University of Delhi and M.Sc. in Biochemistry from the University of Hyderabad. She is interested in studying the mechanisms and neurocircuitry underlying the influence of serotonin in programming emotional behavior. She also examines the influence of serotonin on neuronal bioenergetics in distinct developmental windows. Outside lab she likes to read, watching stand-up comedy and exploring food joints.

Nishtha Pange

Project Assistant

Nishtha has completed her Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology from Ramnarain Ruia Autonomous College, MU and Master’s degree in Biological Sciences from Sunandan Divatia School of Science, NMIMS. She is intrigued by the multifaceted aetiology of neurodegenerative diseases while learning & memory neural circuits also pique her interest. Barring science, she is a trained Kathak dancer and enjoys all dance forms. Outside the lab, you would find her watching birds, talking about food, travel & J.K. Rowling. 

Email: pange.nishtha@gmail.com

Collaboration

Sashaina Fanibunda

Assistant Professor, Kasturba Health Society-MRC and Vaidya Lab-TIFR Alliance

Sashaina received her undergraduate degree in Life Sciences from St. Xavier’s College, her Ph.D in Biochemistry from ICMR-NIRRH and completed her postdoctoral training in neuroscience at the Vaidya lab at TIFR, Mumbai. Currently Sashaina’s research focusses on mitochondrial psychobiology, elucidating the role of serotonin in programming emotional behaviors, and exploring mood modulatory roles of plant-derived indole-alkaloid psychoactives. In her spare time, she likes to participate in social service activities, play table tennis and do random stuff with her twin!