Piali Sengupta

Board Member: 2016 - Present

Scholar: 1996

Awarded Institution
Brandeis University
Department of Biology


Research Interests

Dr. Sengupta and her research team are interested in identifying the genetic, molecular, and neuronal mechanisms by which animals sense and translate environmental cues such as chemicals and temperature into specific changes in behavior and development. Understanding the regulation of sensory signaling and signal processing is of significant biomedical importance since misregulation of these pathways leads to many neurological and behavioral disorders.


Current research in her lab focuses on three main areas using the powerful and elegant C. elegans model organism. Dr. Sengupta and her team use a multifaceted strategy combining genetic, genomic, and molecular tools, high resolution analyses of ultrastructure and in vivo protein trafficking, quantitative behavioral assays, and in vivo calcium imaging to explore the following issues:


  • Investigating the molecular and cellular mechanisms that define the unique morphological and functional properties of sensory cilia, cellular antennae that house all signaling molecules.
  • Identifying the genes and neurons required for the response of C. elegans to pheromones, small molecules used in chemical communication within a species.
  • Studying the molecular, neuronal and circuit mechanisms required for the remarkable experience-dependent responses of C. elegans to thermal stimuli.