Dr Asheeta Prasad

Dr Asheeta Prasad

Dr Asheeta Prasad

Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher


Doctor of Philosophy
University of Utrecht, the Netherlands

Masters of Molecular Biology
University of Queensland, Australia

Bachelor of Science (Biomedical Science)
University of Western Sydney, Australia

Contact details

Phone: (02) 9385 0552
Email: Dr Asheeta Prasad
Fax: (02) 9385 3641

Office: Mathews, Room 508

Research Summary

I am interested in the wiring of the brain, how neurons grow and form neural circuits and their functions. My research focuses on neural circuitry underlying complex behaviors such as learning, memory, reward related behavior and movement. Disturbances in the neural circuitry of these behaviours  contribute to pathophysiology of several neurological disorders such as drug addiction, depression, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease and Multiple sclerosis. I apply unique and interdisciplinary research tools of molecular biology, optogenetics, chemogenetics and behavioral neuroscience.


School of Medical Sciences, NEUR3121  Principles of Optogenetics, 2014 & 2015

School of Medical Sciences, NEUR2201  Neuroscience Fundamentals, 2015

School of Medical Sciences, NEUR2201  Models of Learning, 2016

School of Medical Sciences, NEUR2201  Modulation of Memory, 2016

School of Medical Sciences, NEUR2201 Animal models of learning, 2017

School of Medical Sciences, NEUR2201 Dissecting neural circuits for learning, 2017


Gibson, G. D., Prasad, A. A., Jean-Richard-dit-Bressel, P., Yau, J. O. Y., Millan, E. Z., Liu, Y., . . . McNally, G. P. (2018). Distinct Accumbens Shell Output Pathways Promote versus Prevent Relapse to Alcohol Seeking. Neuron, 98(3), 512-520

Prasad, A.A., & McNally GP (2016). Ventral pallidum output pathways in context-induced reinstatement of alcohol seeking. The Journal of Neuroscience, Nov 16; 36(46):11716-11726.

Khoo, S. Y., Gibson, G. D., Prasad, A. A., & McNally, G. P. (2016). How contexts promote and prevent relapse to drug seeking. Genes Brain Behav. doi:10.1111/gbb.12328

Morello, F., Prasad A. A., Renberg K.,Vieira de Sa, R., Anton-Bolanus, N., Leyva-Diaz, E., Adolfs, Y., Tissir, F., Lopez-Bendito G., and Pasterkamp, J. "Frizzled3 Controls Axonal Polarity and Intermediate Target Entry during Striatal Pathway Development." Journal of Neuroscience,35(42):14205-14219

Khoo AT; Gibson GD; Prasad AA; McNally GP, 2015, 'Role of the striatopallidal pathway in renewal and reacquisition of alcohol seeking.', Behavioral Neuroscience, vol. 129, no. 1, pp. 2 - 7

Prasad AA, McNally GP.Effects of vivo morpholino knockdown of lateral hypothalamus orexin/hypocretin on renewal of alcohol seeking.PLoS One. 2014 Oct 17;9(10):e110385. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0110385. eCollection 2014.

Blakely BD, Bye CR, Fernando CV, Prasad AA, Pasterkamp RJ, Macheda ML, Stacker SA, Parish CL.Ryk, a receptor regulating Wnt5a-mediated neurogenesis and axon morphogenesis of ventral midbrain dopaminergic neurons.Stem Cells Dev. 2013 Aug 1;22(15):2132-44. doi: 10.1089/scd.2013.0066. Epub 2013 Apr 15.

Prasad AA, Fenstermaker A, Bechara A, Adolfs Y, Tissir F, Goffinet A, Zou Y, and Pasterkamp RJ. Wnt-Planar Cell Polarity signaling controls the anterior-posterior organization of monoaminergic axons in the brainstem. Journal of Neuroscience, 2010 Nov 24;30(47):16053-64                                                                                                                                                        

Kolk SM, Gunput RA, Tran TS, van den Heuvel DM, Prasad AA, Hellemons AJ, Adolfs Y, Ginty DD, Kolodkin AL, Burbach JP, Smidt MP, Pasterkamp RJ.Semaphorin 3F is a bifunctional guidance cue for dopaminergic axons and controls their fasciculation, channelling, rostral growth, and intracortical targeting. Journal of Neuroscience. 2009 Oct7;29(40):12542.                                                  

Pietersen AM, Evers B, Prasad AA, Tanger E, Cornelissen-Steijger P,Jonkers J, van Lohuizen M. Bmi1 regulates stem cells and proliferation and differentiation of committed cells in mammary. Current Biology 2008 Jul 22;18(14):1094-9

Books and Book Chapters

Prasad A.A., Pasterkamp RJ. Axon guidance in the dopamine system. Development and Engineering of Dopamine Neurons, Volume 651, Chapter 9
Prasad A.A.,(2011). Wnts guide longitudinal axonal tracts in the developing brain.

Awards, Fellowships & Grants

2015-2017   Career Advancement Award, UNSW  $10K

2016            Parkinson NSW grant $40K

2016           Young Researcher of the Year, finalist, 2016 Parkinson's NSW

2017            Parkinson NSW grant $40K

2017            Discover Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) 2017-2020 $388K

2017            Travel Award, APSAAR USD $500

2018            Silver star award, UNSW  $20,000   

2018            Vice Chancellor’sChidcare Fund $1600                                                                                                                                                 

Affiliations & Memberships

Early Career Academic Executive Committee, UNSW 2013-2015

Member of Australian Neuroscience Society

Member of Federation of European Neuroscience Society

Asia Pacific Society for Alcohol and Addiction Research (APSAAR)

Member of Society of Mental Health Research

Reviewer of Neurobiology of Learning and Memory  

Current Research Students

Holly Hardress (3rd year research internship)

Caroline Xie (Honours Student)

Diviya Thilakeswaran (Research volunteer)

Giorgio Kringas (Research Assistant)

Other Information

Scientific outreach

Brain awaress week 2015,2016, 2017

Pint of Science, Beautiful Mind 2017: https://pintofscience.com.au/about/

Where Science Meets Art - Dr Asheeta Prasad Collaborates With Two Sydney Artists For Exhibition

Brain Mechanisms In Drug Addiction - New Pathways Revealed

Non-Motor Symptoms of Parkinson's Disease - Dr Asheeta Prasad

Parkinsons Scientific Exhibition : https://www.scienceweek.net.au/parkinsons-scientific-art/

Blitz Radio, Science Fair with Jo 13/10/2016

In Conversation’: Artists & Scientists, Manly Art Gallery & Museum 19/02/17

Panelist for UNSW STEMM Symposium 17/08/2016 Part of Bluestockings/Women in Higher Education Week, providing perspective and inspiration to current students

AAS EMCR Forum - Science Pathways 2016: Future Leaders 26-27th September, 2016 Sponsored by School of Psychology, UNSW