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Krishna Melnattur

Assistant Professor of Psychology and Biology, Ashoka University

PhD University of Massachusetts

Krishna is interested in understanding how brains generate adaptive behaviours. To get at these questions, his lab uses a variety of techniques including genetics, circuit tracing tools, physiology and behavioural measurements. His current interests are in studying sleep in the fly Drosophila. His work speaks to two aspects of sleep – that sleep is plastic i.e. modifiable by environmental changes, and in turn supports brain plasticity and learning. In so doing, his work addresses fundamental questions around both the how and why of sleep.

Prior to joining Ashoka, Krishna was a Staff Scientist in the Dept of Neuroscience, Washington University School of Medicine studying sleep in the fly Drosophila with Dr. Paul Shaw. He received a PhD from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst studying neural development with Dr. John Nambu. From development, he went on to first investigate the neural substrates for colour vision at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, before finding his true intellectual home in the study of sleep in flies.

In the (~20min) video below, Krishna discusses the neuroscience of sleep and introduces his work. The lab is supported by a DBT Ramaligaswami Re-Entry Fellowship, and by internal funds. More details on research and open positions can be found on the lab website.

  • Melnattur K, Kirszenblat L, Morgan E, Militchin V, Sakran B, English D, Patel R,  Chan D, van Swinderen B, and Shaw PJ (2021). A conserved role for sleep in  supporting spatial learning in Drosophila. Sleep, zsaa197.
  • Melnattur K, Zhang B, and Shaw PJ (2020). Disrupting flight increases sleep and  identifies a novel sleep-promoting pathway in Drosophila. Sci. Adv. 6, eaaz2166
  • Melnattur K, Morgan E, Duong V, Kalra A, and Shaw PJ (2020). The Sleep Nullifying APparatus: a highly efficient method of sleep depriving Drosophila. J. Vis. Exp 166,  e62105
  • Melnattur K, and Shaw PJ (2019). Staying awake to stay alive: a circuit  controlling starvation induced waking. PLoS Biol 17(3): e3000199
  • Melnattur K, Dissel S, and Shaw PJ (2015). Learning and memory: do bees  dream? Curr Biol. 25(21):R1040-1
  • Dissel S#, Melnattur K#, and Shaw PJ (2015). Sleep, Performance and Memory in  Flies. Curr Sleep Med Rep 1(1): 47-54

# Equal contributors

  • Melnattur KV, Pursley RH, Ting CH, Smith PD, Pohida TJ, and Lee CH (2014).  Multiple redundant medulla projection neurons mediate color vision in  Drosophila. J Neurogenet. Sep-Dec; 28(3-4): 374-88
  • Karuppudurai T, Lin TY, Ting CH, Pursley RH, Melnattur KV, Diao F, White BH,  Gallio M, Pohida TJ, and Lee CH (2013). A hard-wired glutamatergic circuit pools  dim UV signals to mediate spectral preference in Drosophila. Neuron 81(3):603- 15
  • Melnattur KV, Berdnik D, Rusan Z, Ferreira C and Nambu JR (2013). The Sox gene Dichaete is expressed in local interneurons and functions in development of the  Drosophila adult olfactory circuit. Dev Neurobiol. Feb; 73(2): 107-26
  • Melnattur KV and Lee CH (2011). Visual Circuit Assembly in Drosophila. Dev  Neurobiol. Dec; 71(12): 1286-96
  • Mukherjee A, Melnattur KV, Zhang M, Nambu JR. (2006). Maternal expression and function of the Drosophila sox gene Dichaete during  oogenesis. Dev Dyn. Oct; 235(10): 2828-35.
  • Melnattur K, Rawson E, Nambu JR. (2002). P[52A-GAL4] is an insertion in the Drosophila GP150 gene. Genesis. 2002 Sep-Oct; 34(1-2):29-33.
Study at Ashoka

Study at Ashoka