Dr. Raj Balapal received his Ph.D. from Mysore University in Biochemistry in 1994. His postdoctoral training was at the Columbia University Medical Center and NYSPI prior to beginning as a Research Scientist at the Nathan Kline Institute in 2000. His research uses a mouse model of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs) to investigate the impact of alcohol exposure during early development on synaptic plasticity and learning and memory behavior and the underlying cannabinoid receptor mediated signaling changes in hippocampus. His recent publications have showed that there are changes in anandamide, their metabolism, CB1 receptor signaling leading to neurodegeneration in neonatal brain neocortex and hippocampus. These changes lead to synaptic plasticity and learning and memory deficits in adult animals. Very recent work has demonstrated that alcohol exposure during third trimester development impacts epigenetic markers which could underlie the long-term changes seen in this animal model. In addition to the work on FASDs, Dr. Balapal has recently started a new line of research using mice to examining the dangerous consequences of abuse of synthetic cannabinoids (Spice compounds). Dr. Balapal uses state-of-the-art tests of animal behavior, neuroanatomical techniques, neurochemical and neurophysiological (hippocampal primary neurons and hippocampal slices electrophysiology) techniques to answer his research questions.
Subbanna S, Nagre NN, Umapathy NS, Pace BS, Basavarajappa BS (2015) Postnatal Ethanol Epigenetically Up-regulates CB1R Expression and Induces Neurobehavioral Abnormalities in Adult Mice. Intl J Neuropsychopharmacology, 18 (In Press).
Basavarajappa BS, Nagaraja NN, Xie S, Subbanna S (2014). Elevation of Endogenous Anandamide Impairs LTP, Learning and Memory through CB1 Receptor Signaling in Mice. Hippocampus 24: 808-18.
Subbanna, S. & Basavarajappa, BS (2014). Pre-administration of G9a/GLP inhibitor during Synaptogenesis Prevents Postnatal Ethanol-induced LTP Deficits and Neurobehavioral Abnormalities in Adult Mice. Experimental Neurology 261 34-43.
Shivakumar Subbanna, Madhu Shivakumar, Delphine Psychoyos, Shan Xie, and Balapal S. Basavarajappa (2013) Anandamide–CB1 Receptor Signaling Contributes to Postnatal Ethanol-Induced Neonatal Neurodegeneration, Adult Synaptic, and Memory Deficits. J Neurosci, 33 : 6350–6366. Highlighted at NIAAA: “New Findings Implicate Endocannabinoid System in FASD Development”. (http://www.niaaa.nih.gov/research/niaaa-research-highlights/endocannabin...).
Shivakumar Subbanna, Madhu Shivakumar, Nagavedi S. Umapathy, Mariko Saito, Panaiyur S. Mohan, Asok Kumar, Ralph A. Nixon, Alexander D. Verin, Delphine Psychoyos, Balapal S. Basavarajappa (2013) G9a-mediated histone methylation regulates ethanol-induced neurodegeneration in the neonatal mouse brain. Neurobiol of Dis. 54: 475–485.