Tata Institute of Fundamental Research


Sandhya Koushika

Associate Professor

Cargo transport in neurons

Neurobiology, Genetics, Cell Biology

My lab studies the process of cargo transport in neurons. This process is important for the development of the nervous system and its disruption can lead to neurodegenerative disease. Multiple cargo move along the axon from the cell body to the synapse in the anterograde direction and from the synapse to the cell body in the retrograde direction. This movement is controlled by the action of molecular motors of the kinesin and dynein family. My lab is interested in identifying molecules and mechanisms that regulate the transport of two cargo, synaptic vesicles and mitochondria. We use genetics, live imaging, molecular and biochemical techniques to identify the molecular mechanisms that regulate cargo transport. In addition we take several inter-disciplinary approaches working with other groups to develop technologies and mathematical models to attempt a more comprehensive understanding of this biological phenomena.

Selected Publications

Mondal S, Ahlawat S, Rau K, Venkatraman V, Koushika SP (2011) Imaging in vivo neuronal transport in genetic model organisms using microfluidic devices. Traffic 12: 385

Surana S, Bhat JM, Koushika SP, Krishnan Y (2011) An autonomous DNA nanomachine maps spatiotemporal pH changes in a multicellular living organism. Nature Communications 7: 340

Kumar J, Choudhary BC, Metpally R, Zheng Q, Nonet ML, Ramanathan S, Klopfenstein DR, Koushika SP (2010) The Caenorhabditis elegans Kinesin-3 motor UNC-104/KIF1A is degraded upon loss of specific binding to cargo. PLoS Genetics 6: e1001200

Murthy K, Bhat JM, Koushika SP (2010) In vivo imaging of retrogradely transported synaptic vesicle proteins in Caenorhabditis elegans neurons. Traffic 12: 89

Koushika SP, Rau KR (2008) In vivo nanosecond laser axotomy: cavitation dynamics and vesicle transport. Optics Express 16: 9884


  • Lab has moved to DBS,TIFR, Mumbai in 2013
  • Tel: +91 22 2278 2735
  • spkoushika @ tifr.res.in
  • Webpage