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

Cargo crowding at actin-rich regions along axons causes local traffic jams. Sood P, Murthy K, Kumar TV, Nonet ML, Menon GI, Koushika SP. Traffic. 2017 Nov 27. doi: 10.1111/tra.12544. [Epub ahead of print] Read more ...

let-7 miRNA controls CED-7 homotypic adhesion and EFF-1-mediated axonal self-fusion to restore touch sensation following injury. Basu A, Dey S, Puri D, Das Saha N, Sabharwal V, Thyagarajan P, Srivastava P, Koushika SP , Ghosh-Roy A.Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2017 Nov 21;114(47):E10206-E10215. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1704372114. Epub 2017 Nov 6. Read more

UNC-16/JIP3 regulates early events in synaptic vesicle protein trafficking via LRK-1/LRRK2 and AP complexes. Choudhary B, Kamak M, Ratnakaran N, Kumar J, Awasthi A, Li C, Nguyen K, Matsumoto K, Hisamoto N, Koushika SP.. LoS Genet. 2017 Nov 16;13(11):e1007100. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1007100. eCollection 2017 Nov. Read more ...(2017)

To the Cloud! A Grassroots Proposal to Accelerate Brain Science Discovery. Neuro Cloud Consortium. Electronic address: jovo@jhu.edu; Neuro Cloud Consortium. Neuron. 2016 Nov 2;92(3):622-627. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2016.10.033.Read more ...

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