I study animal behaviour from perspective of a neurobiologist. Over last decade, I have been fascinated by the ability of animals to change behavior in accordance with changing environment. Currently, I study mate choice and innate fear in rats, mainly in context of host-parasite interaction. I teach a (hopefully) popular undergraduate course in animal behavior.

Vineet KUMAR

I am interested in determining the mechanisms that signal male attractiveness to females. More specifically using molecular tools and “omics” approaches to determine candidate genes/proteins critical for mate choice. 

I am also interested in delineating brain circuits involved in attraction and aversion.  I intend to determine identity of individual neurons mediating attraction and aversion using catFISH assay.

Donna TAN

I am interested in how we get stressed and how stress (or aliens) affects us when we make decisions.

Our lab has recently established that Toxoplasma induces dendritic retraction in the BLA and reduces corticosterone. This is exciting because prior studies (including from our group) show that dendritic expansion of BLA neurons, driven by corticosterone, mediates high anxiety. I will investigate role of BLA dendritic retraction and blunted corticosterone in loss of fear and wish to understand the mechanism involved.  

Dhiraj KUMAR

Our lab’s work indicated higher testosterone levels in testes of infected rats.  My work mainly deals with testicular steroidogenesis pathways, investigating changes to the receptors and enzymes in response to infection. This will hopefully lead to an understanding of how Toxoplasma is mediating this hormonal change. This work is important as effects of testosterone are global, even affecting the brain which is rich in testosterone (androgen) receptors and expression of genes like AVP.


My research deals with sexual selection and mate choice in rats. Previous work has led me to focus on major urinary proteins (MUP) as a possible secondary sexual trait (SST) that mediates and influences female sexual attraction. In addition, I have used Toxoplasama gondii as a perturbation model to study a behavioral manipulation where a parasite co-opts a SST, benefiting itself (transmission) and the host (mate choice). Currently, I am trying to determine the costs and benefits (to the host/parasites) associated with MUP that will provide evidence that it is a true SST.

Tong Wen Han

Neurobiology has expanded our understanding of the development of the brain and how the latter has helped to generates behaviour and emotions such as joys and sorrows or fear and attraction. I am interested to decipher the mind language and unravel the brain’s mysterious circuitry. I believe these understandings will improve the future of neuroscience and diagnosis of brain diseases.  


Shantala HARI DASS

Shantala finished her PhD around Aug 2014. She has moved to McGill University. Best of luck Shantala!!

Linda SOH

Linda left lab after a long and fruitful tenure. She has decided to join medical school in UWA.

Lee Wei LIM
LKY Research Fellow

Anthony is moving out of the lab in Nov 2014. He is joining as a faculty member in KL.