Deepak Srivastava

Deepak Srivastava

Professor, Dr

    • 2921

    Personal profile

    Research interests

    I am head of the Neuronal Circuitry and Neurodevelopmental Disorders Group, or NCND for short. The goal of our group’s work is to understand the molecular mechanisms that underlie synaptic communication within the mammalian cortex. In particular, we are interested in how excitatory synapses respond to cues within the environment, thus contributing to the refinement of neural circuitry, and ultimately, contributing to cognitive function. In addition, we are interested in how these mechanisms are altered in neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders. Abnormal synapse function and number have been extensively associated with many neurodevelopmental disorders, including schizophrenia, autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) and intellectual disability (mental retardation). Importantly, deficits in synaptic connectivity is thought to play a critical role in the pathophysiology of these disorders. Thus, as aberrant alterations in neuronal circuitry is a fundamental property of many neurodevelopmental disorders, understanding the mechanisms that control changes in connectivity is crucial in furthering our understanding of these disease states as well as for the development of novel therapeutic strategies. 

    In the NCND group, we are currently engaged in a range of different projects. Our work involves collaborations with both basic scientists as well as clinicians, thus allowing us to tackle questions aimed at understanding the most quintessential aspects of neuronal function, to those which will hopefully benefit patients in the future. For example, we aim to elucidate the molecular mechanism by which estrogens can modulate synaptic connectivity in cortical neurons, and are interested in determining whether mimicking estrogen’s effects could offer a possible therapeutic avenue for the treatment of certain disorders. We are also working to uncover the cellular role of recently identified risk genes for schizophrenia and ASD. Other work in the lab is centred on investigating the mechanisms that contribute to synaptic deficits in Alzheimer’s disease.

    In the lab we adopt a multi-disciplinary approach to asking these questions. These approaches include molecular to biochemical techniques, but we also heavily use advanced and cutting edge cellular imaging techniques to examine the dynamic nature of neuronal and synaptic morphology as well as that of proteins localised at synapses. We use primary cell cultures and animal models as a platform to investigate these aspect of cellular function, but more recently have begun to use human neural stem cell models and patient derived pluripotent stem cells to help translate our findings to humans.


    Education interests

    My teaching philosophy is to help students develop the ability to critically judge and practically use information. While it is important to remember key data, neurobiology is growing rapidly and the enormous amount of information poses a challenge. Hence focusing on key concepts is essential. Indeed, in general, science is becoming multidisciplinary, therefore the ability to associate and combine information from different areas of research or fields, is essential. I currently lecture on the BSc Neuroscience, MSc Neuroscience and MSc Psychiatric Research courses, as well as contributing to the Maudsley training program for entry to the Royal College of Psychiatrists. In addition, I am the co-module lead for the research project module for the MSci in Neuroscience, and am involved in developing a new module for the BSc Neuroscience course. Recently, I became the module lead for the new cross divisional Distance learning MSc in the Psychology and Neuroscience of Mental Health. In addition to lecturing on these courses, I actively promote research-based learning, and together with my lab, take on a number of BSc, MSc and PhD students every year.

    Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

    In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

    • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

    Education/Academic qualification

    Doctor of Philosophy, University of Cambridge

    Award Date: 1 Jan 2005

    Bachelor of Science, Cardiff University

    Award Date: 1 Jan 1999


    • QP Physiology
    • Dendritic Spines
    • Synapse
    • synapse formation
    • Neurobiology
    • Neuroscience
    • Neuropharmacology
    • Schizophrenia
    • Autism


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