Sunil P. Gandhi

Picture of Sunil P. Gandhi
Associate Professor, Neurobiology and Behavior
School of Biological Sciences
Ph.D., University of California, San Diego
B.S., Stanford University
University of California, Irvine
303 Qureshey Research Laboratory
Department of Neurobiology and Behavior
Mail Code: 4550
Irvine, CA 92697
Research Interests
brain cell therapy, cortical plasticity, inhibitory interneurons, vision, microglia, 3D whole brain histology
Academic Distinctions
2012 Klingenstein Fellow
2013 Searle Scholar
2013 NIH Director's New Innovator Award
2017 Kavli Fellow
2021 UCI Beall Entrepreneurial Leader of the Year
Co-Director, Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
Postdoctoral Scholar, University of California, San Francisco
Research Abstract
The brain has the remarkable capacity to rewire its connections and thereby reorganize its function. In the juvenile brain, the plasticity of neuronal connections mediates the fine-tuning of a wide range of behaviors, from visual perception to language acquisition to social recognition. What mechanism regulates the plasticity of connections in the young brain? How might we manipulate neural circuits to reactivate this plasticity?

In the visual cortex, modifications of GABAergic inhibition have been shown to elicit the plasticity of neuronal connections and responses, but the mechanism by which inhibition regulates such plasticity remains poorly understood. We recently gained insight into this process when we discovered that the transplantation of GABAergic interneurons into the visual cortex induces a new period of plasticity after the normal juvenile period had terminated. Our finding strongly suggests that interneurons are developmentally programmed to regulate cortical plasticity.

Current projects in the lab are focused on understanding how interneurons control cortical plasticity. We employ a combination of techniques including two-photon functional imaging, in vivo patch-clamp recordings, the transplantation of neuronal precursors, and mouse genetic tools that identify, stimulate and silence defined neural circuits.

Understanding how interneurons regulate plasticity may eventually spur new cell-based therapies for brain repair. Beyond plasticity, these studies may also shed light on the disorders such as autism and schizophrenia that have been proposed to arise from neurodevelopmental imbalances in neocortical excitation and inhibition.
Available Technologies
For a list of published works, please visit my PUBMED profile:
Graduate Programs
Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program
Neurobiology and Behavior
Research Centers
Stem Cell Research Center
Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
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