Department of Pharmacology, Physiology & Neuroscience

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   Vijayalakshmi Santhakumar, Ph.D., MBBS

Track Director, Biomedical Engineering Graduate Program

Department of Pharmacology, Physiology & Neuroscience



Viji Santhakumar developed a deep interest in understanding brain function at the level
neurons and networks during medical school and her subsequent stint as a practicing
physician. She joined the University of California, Irvine in 1998 to pursue basic-
science research on hippocampal plasticity after brain injury. Her doctoral studies
established the role of concussive brain injury in decreasing seizure thresholds and led
to the discovery of key synaptic and cellular processes underlying post-traumatic
epilepsy. Realizing the need for an integrated approach, Dr. Santhakumar exploited
computational modeling techniques and developed biophysically-realistic dentate network
simulations to gain mechanistic insights into limbic epileptogenesis. Her simulations, a
benchmark for data-driven network modeling in the NEURON tool, are currently adopted by
several groups. Following successive postdoctoral studies at UCLA where she identified
the contribution of tonic inhibition to cerebellar and striatal function, Dr.
was recruited as an Assistant Professor to NJMS in October 2008 and is currently an
Associate Proferror in the Department of Pharmacology, Physiology and Neuroscience.


Ph.D., 2003, University of California, Neuroscience
MBBS, 1994, Kilpauk Medical College, Clinical Medicine

Curriculum Vitae

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