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Ramesh Chandra, PhD

Academic Title:

Assistant Professor

Primary Appointment:


Additional Title:

Director, UMB Virus Vector Core (VVC)

Phone (Primary):

(410) 706-2770

Education and Training

  • 1999 B.S., Biology, Veer Bahadur Singh Purvanchal University, Jaunpur, Uttar Pradesh, India
  • 2001 M.S., Zoology, Veer Bahadur Singh Purvanchal University, Jaunpur, Uttar Pradesh, India
  • 2010 Ph.D.,  Zoology, Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar University, Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India collaborated with Central Drug Research Insitute, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India. Thesis Advisor- Dr. Sunil Kumar Puri, Ph.D., “Chemotherapeutic and Biochemical Studies with Arteether Resistant Plasmodium vinckei: A Rodent Malaria Parasite”
  • 2009-2010  Postdoctoral Fellow, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA
  • 2010-2011   Postdoctoral Fellow, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
  • 2011-2015   Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD
  • 2015-2021   Research Associate, University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD


I have been a critical investigator identifying the crucial pathways that determine the vital role of the ventral striatum (also known as Nucleus Accumbens- NAc) in drug addiction and depression. I have a broad background in psychology, with specific training and expertise in molecular and behavioral aspects of drug addiction and depression. To this end, I have adapted novel cell type-specific transcriptome techniques to isolate mRNA from nucleus accumbens MSN subtypes in rodent drug abuse and depression models. Beyond these studies, I also found that Egr3 transcriptionally regulates mitochondrial and nuclear genes. My research findings are crucial in identifying the role of PGC1-alpha (transcriptional coactivator genes) in mitochondrial biogenesis and dynamics in behavioral responses to cocaine. My research has contributed to the novel adaptation of virus-based genetic manipulation, pharmacological, and optogenetics to behavioral models identifying molecular targets mediating behavioral responses to cocaine in NAc neuron subtypes. My work has uncovered a novel and opposing role for the transcription factor, Egr3, in mediating behavioral responses to cocaine through NAc neuron subtypes. I also have undertaken responsibilities as Vector Core Director. My core expertise in AAV-based gene therapy vector engineering and optimizing approaches have helped me uncover the functional role of the gene of interest by gene knockdown. The main thrust of my core is to deal with the modification and optimization of gene delivery reagents using innovative techniques. 

Research/Clinical Keywords

addiction, depression, optogenetics, striatum, nucleus accumbens, neuron subtypes, epigenetics

Highlighted Publications


Awards and Affiliations

2015-                NARSAD Young Investigator Award

2015- Present   Consulting Editor, Advances in Genomics and Genetics

2006-2009        Senior Research Fellowship from the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi

2004-2006        Junior Research Fellowship (F.NO. 10-2(5) 2003(I)-EU.II) from the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi



Grants and Contracts

NARSAD Young Investigator Award (PI)                            01/01/16-12/31/17

Cell Subtype Molecular Mechanisms of Mitochondria Dynamics in Depression” from the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation”

The goal of this study is to examine mitochondrial biogenesis and function genes in NAc neurons subtypes of susceptible and resilient mice after chronic social defeat stress (CSDS) model.  We also genetically manipulate Pgc1α levels in D1-MSNs and D2-MSNs during social defeat stress (SDS).