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Shyam Krishnakumar, PhD

Assistant Professor

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Shyam Krishnakumar, PhD

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Shyam S. Krishnakumar, PhD is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Neurology & Nanobiology Institute. Dr. Krishnakumar received his M.S in Biotechnology from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, and his Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Structural Biology from Stony Brook University, NY. In his doctoral research, he made several key discoveries describing how the structure and function of transmembrane proteins are defined by the composition of the membrane-spanning domains. Dr. Krishnakumar did his postdoctoral research on the molecular regulation of synaptic vesicle fusion under the guidance of James E. Rothman (Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 2013) in the Department of Cell Biology, Yale University School of Medicine (Krishnakumar et al. Nat. Struct. Mol. Biol. 2011; eLife 2015). Subsequently, as a Senior Research Scientist, he directed research focused on dissecting the molecular organization of the vesicle release sites in presynaptic terminals (Volynski and Krishnakumar, Curr. Opin. Neurobiol 2018)

In his own lab, Dr. Krishnakumar aims to delineate the molecular mechanisms of synchronicity and use-dependent plasticity of neurotransmitter release and how it is altered in paroxysmal movement disorders. The balance between different modes of neurotransmitter release and short-term plasticity plays an important role in coordinating activity within neuronal networks and provides a basis for synaptic computation. Any alterations that affect the timing or probability of release result in a wide range of neurological disorders. To this end, he employs multidisciplinary biochemical, biophysical, and structural methods, with a specific focus on systematic biochemical reconstitution strategies.

As part of the Yale-UCL collaborative, Dr. Krishnakumar also has a visiting appointment (Honorary Associate Professor) at the Department of Clinical and Experimental Epilepsy, UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology, London. At UCL, he is pursuing a collaborative research program aimed at understanding the pathophysiology of SNARE-associated neurodevelopmental and movement disorders in molecular terms.

Education & Training

  • PhD
    Stony Brook University (2007)
  • MSc
    Indian Inst Of Tech (2001)

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