Scripps Florida - The Scripps Research Institute Department of Neuroscience

Department of Neuroscience


Sathya Puthanveettil, Ph.D.

Sathya Puthanveettil

Associate Professor

Ph.D., Washington State University, Pullman, WA, 2001

Department of Neuroscience
The Scripps Research  Institute
130 Scripps Way 3C2
Jupiter, Florida 33458
Telephone: 561-228-2243
Fax: 561-228-2249


Research Interests

Research in my laboratory centers on the molecular and cellular basis of long-term memory storage and its disorders. The human brain is extraordinarily complex with about 100 billion neurons, each with a potential of expressing approximately 25,000 protein coding genes and thousands of noncoding RNAs, rendering an exhaustive molecular approach to this problem rather difficult. However, using simpler nervous systems and with recent advances in genomic and proteomic technologies it is becoming increasingly possible to carry out a comprehensive analysis of transcriptomes and proteomes of neurons and neuronal compartments to obtain a molecular logic for memory storage.

There are two hallmarks of long-term memory storage at the cellular level- experience dependent activation of gene expression in the nucleus and local activation of translation at specific synapses. I discovered in Eric Kandel's laboratory that activation of fast axonal transport in pre- and post- synaptic neurons during learning is another critical component of long-term memory storage in the neurons of Aplysia gill-withdrawal reflex. This activation of molecular transport coordinates nuclear and synaptic process during memory storage. Nonetheless, we still do not know what gene products are transported in specific neurons in response to activity, how they are transported, how they are stored for later use, and eventually, when they are utilized at synapses. An understanding of the identity, stoichiometry and dynamics of actively transported gene products in specific neurons and their regulation will substantially enlighten our understanding of the establishment and persistence of long-term memory storage. This is also important from a drug discovery point of view because in several neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Huntingtin, transport pathways are affected.

My laboratory explores these questions using an integrated approach that combines several high throughput techniques with electrophysiology, biochemistry and imaging. We use Aplysia and mice as models to address these questions at both cellular and systems level.

Selected Publications

Rizzo V, Touzani K, Raveendra, BL, Swarnkar S, Lora J, Kadakkuzha BM, Liu XA, Zhang C, Betel D, Stackman RW, Puthanveettil SV. (2016) Encoding of contextual fear memory requires de novo proteins in the prelimbic cortex. Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging. Published online,

Miller KE, Liu XA, Puthanveettil SV. (2015) Automated measurement of fast mitochondrial transport in neurons. Front Cell Neurosci. 9:435.

Kadakkuzha BM, Liu XA, Shankar G, McCrate J, Afinogenova A, Young B, Rizzo A, Fallahi M, Raveendra B, Puthanveettil SV. (2015) Transcriptome analyses of adult mouse brain reveal enrichment of lncRNAs in specific brain regions and neuronal populations. Front Cell Neurosci. 9:63.

Liu XA, Kadakkuzha B, Pascal B, Steckler C, Akhmedov K, Yan L, Chalmers M, Puthanveettil SV. (2014) New approach to capture and characterize synaptic proteome. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 111:16154-16159.

Kadakkuzha BM, Spicer TP, Chase P, Richman JB, Hodder P, Puthanveettil SV. (2014). High-throughput screening for small molecule modulators of motor protein Kinesin. Assay Drug Dev Technol.12:470-480.

Choi YB, Kadakkuzha BM, Liu XA, Akhmedov K, *Kandel ER, Puthanveettil SV. (2014) Huntingtin is critical both pre- and postsynaptically for long-term learning-related synaptic plasticity in aplysia. PLoS One. 9:e103004.

Puthanveettil SV, Antonov I, Kalachikov S, Rajasethupathy P, Choi Y.B, Kohn AB, Citarella M, Yu F, Kar, KA, Kinet M, Morozova I, Russo JJ, Ju J, Moroz LL, Kandel ER. (2013) A strategy to capture and characterize the synaptic transcriptome. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 110:7464-7469.

Akhmedov K, Rizzo V, Kadakkuzha BM, Capo T, Puthanveettil SV. (2013) Decreased response to acetylcholine during aging of Aplysia neurons R15. PLoS One. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0084793

Puthanveettil, S.V., Monje, F.J., Miniaci, M.C., Choi, Y.B., Karl, K.A., Khandros, E., Gawinowicz, M.A., Sheetz, M.P., and Kandel, E.R. (2008) A new component in synaptic plasticity: upregulation of kinesin in the neurons of the gill-withdrawal reflex. Cell. 135:960-73. Faculty of 1000 evaluated

Touzani, K., Puthanveettil, S.V., and Kandel, E.R. (2007) Consolidation of learning strategies during spatial working memory task requires proteins synthesis in the prefrontal cortex. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). 104:5632-7.

Awards, Recognition, Appointments, and Honors

1984-1991 National Merit Scholarship, Department of Education, India
1995 Visiting Scientist. Dr. Nori Kurata Laboratory, Rice Genome Research Program, STAFF Institute. Tsukuba, Japan
1996-2001 Graduate Research Assistant, Poovaiah Laboratory, Washington State University, Pullman
2002 Howard Hughes Medical Institute Research Associate, Kandel Laboratory
2003 The National Neurofibromatosis Foundation and International Neurofibromatosis Research Foundation Prize for Innovative research ideas
2006 Associate Research Scientist, Department of Neuroscience, Columbia University Medical Center
2009 Society For Neuroscience (SFN) recognize my work on Kinesin transported RNAs as “HOT TOPIC” for Neuroscience