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Banner Image Here Thakker-Varia, Smita PhD
Photograph of Smita Thakker-Varia, PhDAssociate Professor, Neuroscience and Cell Biology 

PhD, The University of Kansas, 1983

Phone: (732) 235-5393
: (732) 235-4990

Research Interests:

Neurotrophic factors and neuropeptides in neuronal development, traumatic brain injury and mental disorders.

Selected Publications: For complete list PubMed
  • Thakker-Varia, S., Behnke, J., Doobin, D., Dalal, V., Thakkar, K., Khadim, F., Wilson, E., Palmieri, A., Antila, H., Rantamäki,T., Alder, J. (2014) VGF-induced neurogenesis targets early phase neural progenitor cells in the adult hippocampus and requires glutamate signaling. Stem Cell Research, 12(3): 762-77 doi: 10.1016/j.scr.2014.03.005.
  • Alder, J., Kallman, S., Palmieri, A., Khadim, F., Ayer, J.J., Kumar, S., Tsung, K., Grinberg, I., Grinberg, I., Thakker-Varia, S. (2013) Neuropeptide orphanin FQ inhibits dendritic morphogenesis through activation of RhoA., Developmental Neurobiology, 73(10): 769-84 doi: 10.1002/dneu.22101 PMID: 23821558

  • Alder, J.  Kramer, B.C., Hoskin, C., Thakker-Varia. S. (2012) Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) produced by human umbilical tissue-derived cells (hUTC) Is required for its effect on hippocampal dendritic differentiation, Developmental Neurobiology, 72(6), 755-65. PMID: 21954108

  • Alder J., Kramer B.C., Hoskin C., and Thakker-Varia S. (2011) Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) produced by human umbilical tissue-derived cells (hUTC) is required for its effect on hippocampal dendritic differentiation. Dev Neurobiol. doi: 10.1002/dneu.20980.

  • Alder J, Fujioka W, Lifshitz J, Crockett DP, Thakker-Varia S. (2011) Lateral fluid percussion: model of traumatic brain injury in mice. J Vis Exp. Aug 22;(54) doi: 10.3791/3063.
  • Thakker-Varia, S., Jean, Y., Parikh, P., Sizer, C., Krol, J. J., Parikh, A., Hyde, T., Buyske, S., and Alder, J. (2010) The Neuropeptide VGF Is Reduced in Human Bipolar Postmortem Brain and Contributes to Some of the Behavioral and Molecular Effects of Lithium. J. Neurosci., 30(28), 9368-9380.
  • Thakker-Varia, S. and Alder, J. (2009). Neuropeptides in depression: role of VGF. Behavioral Brain Research, 197, 262-278.
  • Sunderram, J., Semmlow, J., Thakker-Varia, S., Bhaumik, M., Hoang-Le, O. and Neubauer, J.A. (2009) Heme oxygenase-1-dependent central cardiorespiratory adaptations to chronic hypoxia in mice. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 297(2): R300-12.
  • Thakker-Varia, S., Jernstedt, Krol, J., Nettleton, J., Bilimoria, P.M., Bangasser, D.A., Shors, T.J., Black, I.B. and Alder, J. (2007) The neuropeptide VGF produces antidepressant-like behavioral effects and enhances proliferation in the hippocampus. J. Neurosci., 27(45), 12156-12167.
  • Ring, R.H., Alder, J., Fennell, M., Kouranova, E., Black, I.B., and Thakker-Varia, S. (2006) Transcriptional profiling of BDNF-induced neuronal plasticity: a novel role for nociceptins in hippocampal neurite outgrowth. J. Neurobiol. 66(4), 361-377.
  • Alder, J*., Thakker-Varia, S*., Crozier, R.A., Shaheen, A., Plummer, M.R., and Black, I.B. (2005) Early presynaptic and late postsynaptic components contribute independently to BDNF-induced synaptic plasticity. J. Neurosci., 25(21), 3080-3085.
  • Alder, J*., Thakker-Varia, S*., Bangasser, D.A., Kuroiwa, M., Plummer, M.R., Shors, T.J., and Black, I. B. (2003) BDNF-induced gene expression reveals novel actions of VGF in hippocampal synaptic plasticity. J. Neurosci., 23(34), 10800-10808.
  • Thakker-Varia, S*., Alder, J*., Crozier, R.A., Plummer, M.R. and Black, I.B. (2001) Rab3A is required for brain-derived neurotrophic factor-induced synaptic plasticity: transcriptional analysis at the population and single-cell levels. J. Neurosci., 21(17), 6782-6790.
  • Thakker-Varia, S., Elkabes, S., Peng, L., Sherwood, A.C. and Black, I.B. (1998) Gene expression in activated brain microglia: Identification of proteinase inhibitor that increases microglial cell number. Molecular Brain Research, 56(1-2), 99-107.

    *Equal contribution

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