Dr Shamik Dasgupta

PhD, MSc, BSc

  • University walk, C39b, Biomedical Sciences Building

    BS8 1TD Bristol

    United Kingdom

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Personal profile

Research interests

Mermory and Decision-making

I love cooking and often make pizzas at home. When I decide to put tomato and basil on a sourdough base, I can predict how it should taste like after baking- delicious. Though occasionally, my experimental spirit takes over the pizza-making process, and I end up putting random leftovers from our fridge over our beloved dough. While this has produced some questionable dinners for the family, most of the time, I can 'guess' how a novel combination should taste like even though I haven't tried them beforehand. 

So, why are we talking about pizza making- it shows two critical aspects of our cognitive functions. Firstly, our decisions are often guided by past experiences. And secondly, we not only use past experiences to predict the future outcomes of our choices, but we can also use memories to forecast the results of a novel choice. Thus, a close relationship exists between memory and decision-making systems, and our lab is interested in understanding the neural basis of this interface. Our chosen model system is the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster. Despite having only(!!) ~100,000 neurons in the central brain, flies have non-reflexive choice processes and are capable of forming complex memories. We take advantage of its rich behavioural repertoire, and investigate how stored memories are used during decision-making, often in single-neuron resolution.

We are also interested in learning how gene expression affects memory and decision processes to understand the cellular basis of some cognitive disorders. We are currently focusing on the role of the transcription factor FoxP in the adult fly brain. Members of the FoxP family play critical roles in cognitive processes in a wide variety of organisms, ranging from decision-making in fruit flies to vocal communication in birds, rodents and primates, and cognitive processes in human. We are using a combination of genetics, transcriptomics, electro- and optical physiology and behavioural approaches to decipher the link between gene expression, neural activity and behaviour.

Besides defined projects, we like developing new behavioural assays and building instruments. If you like tinkering with codes and microcontrollers and feel like applying your skills to neuroscience, please get in touch. 

 

Structured keywords and research groupings

  • Brain and Behaviour
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Memory
  • Brain Imaging
  • Drosophia
  • Decision-making

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