DPhil Student in Neuroscience
Antara is a 3rd year neuroscience DPhil student co-supervised by Dr. Armin Lak and Dr. Simon Butt. She graduated from the University at Buffalo in 2017 where she completed a BSc with Honors in Biomedical Sciences and completed an Honors thesis that involved analyzing the effects of chronic stress on non-auditory regions such as the hippocampus.
Driven by her interest in systems neuroscience, Antara started working as a postgraduate research associate in Dr. Jessica Cardin’s lab at Yale University. She researched the role of interneurons in visual cortical circuit function, focusing on the developmental consequences of ErbB4 removal in somatostatin-positive (SOM) interneurons and pyramidal neurons. Additionally, she used two state-of-the-art approaches to understand the consequences of MeCP2 removal in interneurons: whole-brain viral CRISPR/Cas9-mediated genome editing and in vivo mesoscopic calcium imaging with the hypothesis that there will be a weakened local and long-range connectivity in the brain. The projects at the Cardin Lab expanded and diversified her skill set from molecular and cellular neuroscience to systems neuroscience.
In the Lak Lab in Oxford, her DPhil research focuses on the neural basis of economic decision-making. Past studies have identified the prefrontal cortex (PFC) as one of the crucial brain regions for such decisions. These studies, however, could either record signals across the brain with coarse resolution or acquire high-resolution readouts but often only in select brain regions. Therefore, it is not known how the activity of neurons across different regions of PFC underlie risky economic decisions. To address this, she and her colleagues developed a novel two-alternative economic decision task in head-fixed mice and employed high-density large-scale electrophysiological recordings to measure the activity of thousands of neurons across PFC during the task.
Outside of the research lab, Antara is an avid photographer and is often found on weekends working at events as a photographer or traveling to different cities and dabbling in street photography. In addition to this she enjoys going to the movies, long walks, and dancing. She has been on the Cortex Club (Oxford's neuroscience society) committee for two years serving as the Graduate Fresher's Representative from 2020-21 and President from 2021-22. During her tenure as a committee member, she helped organize many seminars and socials across various Oxford colleges and departments.