Dr Dhanisha Jhaveri: Cellular regulation of stress and depression

The Jhaveri group goals are to uncover new mechanisms that are central to neurogenic regulation and learn how new neurons impact neural circuits and behaviour, and translate these principles to better understand and ultimately treat cognitive and mood-related deficits associated with anxiety and depression.

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Researcher biography

Dr Dhanisha Jhaveri has a joint appointment at Mater Research and the Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) and is a Mater Foundation Senior Research Fellow and a Group Leader. Dhanisha's research group is investigating the fundamental mechanisms that drive the renewal of neurons in the adult brain, with the goal of harnessing this form of neural plasticity to relieve the emotional and cognitive burdens associated with chronic stress and depression.

Dhanisha received her PhD from the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), India, under the supervision of Professor Veronica Rodrigues, where she unravelled 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. She has made major discoveries that have transformed our understanding of the regulation and roles of neural stem cells in the adult brain. Her work uncovered that a subclass clinical antidepressants directly activates neural stem cells in the hippocampus, a brain region implicated in regulating mood and cognitive functions. She also pioneered the development of a new cell sorting protocol to purify neural stem cells which revealed presence of distinct stem cell populations in this brain region.