The University of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine, Knoxville



The Department of Anesthesiology

Subimal Datta, PhD

Professor
Anesthesia Research Division

Website | Email
Phone: 865-305-8963

Key words: Sleep-wake, consciousness, learning and memory, anxiety, depression, stress, brainstem, cholinergic system, phasic pontine-wave (P-wave), intracellular signaling

Academic Appointments

2015 - Present Professor, Department of Anesthesiology, Graduate School of Medicine, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37920
2015 - Present Professor, Department of Psychology, College of Arts and Sciences, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996
2009 - 2014 Professor, Department of Neurology, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA 02118
2002 - 2014 Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA 02118
1996 - 2001 Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Boston University School  of Medicine, Boston, MA 02118
1996 - 2014 Director, Sleep and Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA 02118
1995 - 1997 Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, and Program in Neuroscience, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115

Research Interests

I am interested in the cellular and molecular mechanisms of sleep-wake states, sleep-dependent memory processing, states of consciousness, and anxiety disorders.

Research Statement

My research focuses on following three major areas of the behavioral neuroscience, which are complementary to each other:

  1. Anxiety, depression, and sleep. In humans, disrupted sleep architecture is a hallmark feature of many psychiatric disorders, including Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder (PTSD) and depression. Similarly, normal sleep architecture is critical for psychological and emotional well-being. Understanding the common pathophysiological mechanisms among PTSD, depression, and sleep architecture disturbances is key to the development of rational behavioral and pharmacological therapies for these persistent and debilitating disorders. Therefore, we are using rats sleep architecture disturbances to understand the pathophysiological mechanisms of anxiety and depression.

  2. Sleep-dependent memory consolidation: beyond the hippocampus and amygdala. Sleep confers a beneficial effect on learning and memory. My research is exploring how the stages of sleep are involved in different stages of memory formation. One of our key discoveries is that activation of a small group of glutamatergic cells in the brainstem is critical for memory consolidation, one of the major steps of long-term memory formation. We identified this group of cells as the phasic pontine-wave (P-wave) generator. We have shown that elimination of these brainstem glutamatergic cells prevents memory consolidation by suppressing expression of specific genes and proteins in the hippocampus and amygdala. We believe that the continued progress of this work will be important in the development of behavioral and pharmacological therapies for the debilitating cognitive dysfunction in sleep related neurological and psychiatric disorders (including PTSD and addiction).

  3. Sleep and dreaming. This research is focused on identifying specific brain areas, cell types, neurotransmitter receptors, intracellular signaling systems, and genes that are critical for the regulation of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and dreaming. Based on experimental evidence, we developed the "Cellular-Molecular-Network" model of REM sleep regulation. This model not only explains the neurobiological mechanisms of REM sleep, but also identifies possible mechanisms of consciousness and dreaming. The ultimate goal of our research is to understand the basic mechanisms of consciousness and sleep regulation and thereby find causes and cures for sleep disorders.

Honors (Selected)

2015 Selected for B. K. Anand Oration Award
2014-2019 Fulbright Scholar Specialist, Selected by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs (ECA) and the Institute of International Education's Council for International Exchange of Scholars (CIES)
2010 Invited Lecture, 11th International Child Neurology Congress, Cairo, Egypt
2009 Associate Editor, SLEEP (Journal of APSS)
2007 Associate Editor, Frontiers in Neuroscience
2005 Invited Lecture, Annual Meeting of Japanese Society of Sleep Research, Utsunomiya, Japan
2004 Young Scientist Award, ASIO, North America
2004 Invited Lecture, 28th International Congress of Psychology, Beijing, China
2003 Invited Lecture, Arkansas State Medical Society, University of Arkansas,
Little Rock, AR
1997 Research Grant Review Committee: Air Force (USA); NIH (USA); VA (USA); NSF (USA); BBSRC Bioscience (UK); Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Pissa (Italy); Welcome Trust (UK); Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (Netherland); Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (India)
1995 Young Investigator Award, North American Sleep Research Society
1995 William F. Milton Award, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
1986 B. K. Anand Research Prize, Indian National Award in Physiology, APPI
1985 C. L. Malhotra Research Prize, Indian National award in Pharmacology, APPI

Grants

Current

National Institute of Mental Health Grant #RO1MH059839: Cellular and molecular mechanisms of REM sleep; Project years 15-20; From 1 July 2013 to 30 June 2018; Total Costs, $2,046,250; Principal Investigator: Subimal Datta.

Completed

National Institute of Mental Health Grant #RO1MH059839: Cellular and neurochemical mechanisms of REM sleep; Project years 9-14; From 1 July 2008 to 30 June 2013; Total Costs, $1,725,000; Principal Investigator: Subimal Datta

Sepracor Inc. (Pharmaceutical company) Research Grant: Neurobiological basis of anxiety and alteration of sleep-wake behavior after stressor exposure; From 1 May 2008 to 31 December 2009; Total Costs, $145,000; Principal Investigator: Subimal Datta

EPIX Pharmaceuticals Research Grant: Effects of EPX-104888 (antagonists of neuropeptide S receptor) on sleep-wake activity; From 1 February 2010 to 30 April 2010; Total Costs, $42,284; Principal Investigator: Subimal Datta

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke Grant #RO1NS034004: Cellular and neurochemical mechanisms of REM sleep; Project years 10-15; From 1 July 2005 to 30 June 2010; Total Costs, $1,867,345; Principal Investigator: Subimal Datta

National Institute of Mental Health Grant #RO1MH059839: Cellular and neurochemical mechanisms of REM sleep; Project years 5-8; From 1 April 2003 to 30 June 2008; Total Costs, $1,518,875; Principal Investigator: Subimal Datta

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke Grant #RO1NS034004: Cellular and neurochemical mechanisms of REM sleep; Project years 5-9; From 1 April 2001 to 30 June 2005; Total Costs $1,770,580; Principal Investigator: Subimal Datta

National Institute of Mental Health Grant #RO1MH059839: Cellular and neurochemical mechanisms of REM sleep; Project years 1-4; From 1 April 1999 to 31 March 2003; Total Costs, $866,157; Principal Investigator: Subimal Datta

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke Grant #R29NS034004 (NIH First Award): Cellular basis of brainstem PGO wave generation; Project years 1-5; From 1 December 1995 to 30 June 2005; Total Costs $484,385; Principal Investigator: Subimal Datta

Research Grant for Harvard Medical School Junior Faculty; From 1 July 1995 to 31 July 1996; Total Costs: $45,000; Principal Investigator: Subimal Datta

Scholarly Activity

Books and Book Chapters

Datta, S. Phasic ponto-geniculo-occipital/pontine wave. In: Encyclopedia of Sleep and Dreams: The Evolution, Function, Nature, and Mysteries of Slumber (D. Barrett and P. McNamara, eds.), Greenwood Publishers (ABC-CLIO), Santa Barbara, Vol. 2, 487-490 pg (2012).

Datta, S. Phasic pontine-wave generation: Cellular-molecular-network mechanism and functional significance. In: BrainnActivity in Sleep.(M. G. Frank, ed.), Elsevier Inc., Chapter 7, pp147-165 (2012).

Datta, S. Cholinergic brainstem. Encyclopedia of Neuroscience (Binder M.D., Hirokawa, N., Windhorst, U. (Eds.). Springer Verlag GmbH, Heidelberg, Volume I: 705-708 (2009).

Publications

Knapp CM, Ciraulo DA, Datta S. Mechanisms underlying sleep-wake disturbances in alcoholism: focus on the cholinergic pedunculopontine tegmentum. Behav. Brain Res. 274:291-301 (2014).

Knapp CM, O'Malley MW, Ciraulo DA, Datta S. The Kv7 Potassium Channel Activator Retigabine Decreases Alcohol Consumption in Rats. Am. J. Drug and Alcohol Abuse 40:244-250 (2014).

Siwek DF, Knapp CM, Kaur G, Datta S. Dorsal subcoeruleus nucleus (SubCD) involvement in context-associated fear memory consolidation. Exp. Brain Res. 232:1535-1545 (2014).

Datta S, O'Malley MW. Fear extinction memory consolidation requires potentiation of pontine-wave activity during REM sleep. J. Neurosci. 33:4561-4569 (2013).

O'Malley MW, Fishman RL, Ciraulo DA, Datta S. Effect of five-consecutive-day exposure to an anxiogenic stressor on sleep-wake activity in rats. Front. Neurol. 4:Article 15 P1-P10 (2013).

O'Malley MW, Datta S. REM sleep regulating mechanisms in the cholinergic cell compartment of the brainstem. Ind. J. Sleep Med. 8:63-71 (2013).

Datta S. The preconscious mind and gamma band activity in the reticular activating system. Frontiers in Sleep and Chronobiol. Front. Neur. 3:16 (2012).

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