Dr. Nafisa M. Jadavji is a Neuroscientist. Currently, she is postdoctoral fellow researcher and instructor at Carleton University and the University of Ottawa, in Ottawa, Canada. She completed her doctoral training at McGill University in Montréal, Canada and postdoctoral training at the Charité Medical University in Berlin, Germany. Her post-doctoral research focuses on understanding how dietary and genetic deficiencies in one carbon metabolism, specifically, folate metabolism, affects neurological function over the lifespan using a mouse model. Her research has been published in Behavioural Brain Research, Biochemical Journal, Neuroendocrinology, Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience, Human Molecular Genetics, European Journal of Neuroscience, Journal of Pediatric Reviews, Neural Regeneration Research, Environmental Epigenetics, Neurobiology of disease, and Neuroscience. Dr. Jadavji has been funded by the Federation of European Neuroscience Society (Europe), NeuroWIND (Germany), Canadian Association for Neuroscience, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, National Science & Engineering Research Council (Canada), International Brain Research Organization, Parkinson’s disease Foundation (US), Burroughs Wellcome Fund (US) and Fonds de la recherché en santé Québec (Canada). She is a regular reviewer for the Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism, Neurotoxicity Research, Journal of Molecular Medicine and Neuroscience. Currently, Dr. Jadavji is an Editorial member for Updates in Nutritional Disorders and Therapy and JSM Nutritional Disorders Journals. She is also the Chair of the Board of Directors for the Journal of Young Investigators (JYI) and a board member of the Canadian Society for Molecular Biosciences.
My academic training has been in the ﬁeld of Neuroscience. I have been in love with the brain since I was 13 I think. Watching a NatGeo documentary about the brain one Sunday afternoon proved really rather signiﬁcant. This was long before I had any views about career for myself, let alone knowing the possibility of career in Neuroscience. It’s true what they say — for this day and age — “I watch, therefore I am”. So, that’s who I am — a neuroscientist.
Several beautiful chance encounters since watching the NatGeo documentary, I found myself doing PhD, in Neuroscience! Here, I studied the changes happening in brain during chronic pain; how drugs inﬂuence these changes when they do, and don’t, relieve pain. When I was a graduate student, the human genome was ﬁrst mapped. I started thinking about what genes can, and cannot, do. My postdoc work then naturally was about targeting how genetic elements (not always functional genes, but DNA sequences within genome) are involved — in increasing chances of a disease, and how that aspect can be used to develop better treatments.
Along the way, I added ‘science communication’ and ‘integrating research and education’, as two other things I really care about (and therefore will tweet about during my time with Biotweeps 🙂
I am a postdoctoral fellow in the Computational Neuroscience Group at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University, which means I live on a sub-tropical island and work in a building that looks like a James Bond villain’s secret laboratory. My current research is about how brain cells (neurons) communicate with each other; specifically, how their electrical activity represents information about the environment. I work entirely on computer models of the brain, which we use to explore hypotheses about neuronal communication. I did my PhD in neuroscience at Newcastle University, where I focused on the physics of electrode recordings from brain tissue, and how these recordings relate to the neurons’ activity. Prior to that did a Master’s degree in AI at the University of Edinburgh and a Bachelor’s degree in Physics and Computer Science at Durham University – I am admittedly a biologist wannabe rather than a biologist by training.