New York University Abu Dhabi Research

A distinctive element of NYUAD is a robust research environment, one that supports the disciplinary areas of the curriculum, creates collaborations in new and exciting interdisciplinary fields, nurtures the development of graduate programs, and supports research of the highest quality on topics of importance and relevance to Abu Dhabi and to our world today.

  • Principal Investigator

Dipesh Chaudhury, PhD

Assistant Professor

Dipesh Chaudhury is interested in understanding pathophysiological changes in neural circuit functions that lead to mood disorders and memory loss. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of London (UK) and PhD from the Open University (UK) under the supervision of Prof. Steven Rose. He has held various post-doctoral and associate scientist positions at UCLA (USA), CNRS in Marseille (France), Cornell University (USA) and Mount Sinai School of Medicine (USA). In Spring 2015 he joined the Biology faculty of NYU Abu Dhabi. 

Dipesh was born in Malaysia and lived there till the age of 10 after which he spent the rest of his formative years in the UK. Dipesh (has been told he is happily) married to Keya, a talented graphic designer and unofficial lab creative director. Together, they have a budding scientist/artist daughter Sarika, who has to deal with the majority of her dad’s terrible jokes.

  • Post Doctoral Fellows


Basma Radwan-Ibrahim, PhD

Post-Doctoral Fellow

Basma Radwan-Ibrahim is interested in understanding the neurobiological underpinnings of neurological disorders with a focus on investigating the functional neural circuitry of behaviour. She received her bachelors degree in neural science from New York University, her masters of science in biomedical engineering from Boston University and her Ph.D. from New York University in 2015 under the tutelage of Dr André Fenton, where she investigated the neural correlates of cognitive impairment in a mouse model of Fragile X Syndrome. Under the mentorship of Dr Dipesh Chaudhury, she will be investigating the role of sleep on modulating depression-like behaviours. She is excited about combining different research techniques ranging from rodent behaviours, in vitro and in vivo electrophysiology, cellular imaging and optogenetic methodologies. Basma is originally from Egypt and she enjoys learning about history and ancient world civilizations. On her days off, Basma is busy running around and laughing with her two little daughters: Heidi and Deanna.


Priyam Narain, PHD

Post-Doctoral Fellow

Priyam Narain received her PhD degree in November 2018, from Indian Institute of Technology Delhi,India, one of the most prestigious institute in India. Her graduate research focused on understanding the genetic basis of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) in Indian patients and employed high throughput screening techniques. Her study was the first to establish the genetic basis of ALS in India. Under the mentorship of Dr. Justin Blau and Dr Dipesh Chaudhury, she will employing single cell analysis and electrophysiology techniques to identify the molecular mechanisms driving rhythmic excitability in PER1 and non PER1 cell. She would also investigate the gene expression program that allows Period1-expressing SCN neurons to survive sustained depolarization. This may help understand how to prevent the neuronal cell death in several neurological disorders. In her leisure time she loves travelling to new places, listening to Indian music and trying out new recipes.

  • Research Associate

Ashutosh pic.jpg

Research Associate

Ashutosh Rastogi PhD

Ashutosh Rastogi did his PhD (2012, India) in the neurobiology of bird migration, where he trained in neuroanatomy and studied the role of olfactory/ visual sensory systems and seasonal clock of migration. After his PhD, he moved to the USA for his postdoctoral training (2013-2018) under the mentorship of Prof. Eric Mintz at Kent State University, where he was involved in projects on circadian clock and neural basis of food anticipatory activity (FAA) in mice. Specifically, he investigated the sexually dimorphic nature and ontogenic differences in FAA, and how limited food availability affects estrous cyclicity and shifts peripheral circadian clock in ovaries in relation to master circadian clock (suprachiasmatic nucleus, SCN). In early 2019, he joined Dr. Chaudhury’s group at NYUAD as a research associate, where he will investigate the neural circuitry of depression and how these mood disorders compromise the circadian clock and/ or vice versa, using a combination of behavioral, neuroanatomical, electrophysiological and optogenetics tools.

  • Research Assistant


Aisha Al hammadi

Research Assistant

Aisha Al Hammadi received her bachelor degree from United Arab Emirates University, major in cell biology with minor in cognitive science. She joined team of Prof. Chaudhury lab in NYUAD as a research assistant and she is a part of the Kawader program. she aims to gain a good research skills to pursue her higher education in the near future.

  • Research Fellow



Research Fellow

Alvaro is a Research Fellow at New York University Abu Dhabi. He did his BSc at NYUAD in biology (2019), specializing in brain and cognitive science and graduating magna cum laude. A physician in the making, Alvaro aspires to be a global neurologist-scientist. He has lived in Chile, Peru, and the UAE, studied away in the US and Ghana, and volunteered in Ecuador and Colombia. His research interests lie in the crossroads between the emergence of behavior and neuronal biophysics. At Chaudhury Lab, he investigates the relationship between susceptibility to stress and sleep patterns, using electroencephalography, electromyography, and behavioral testing.

  • (NYUAD) Capstone Students



NYUAD Undergraduate Student

Vongai is a Zimbabwean undergraduate student majoring in Biology with a minor in Psychology at NYU Abu Dhabi. In tandem, she is pursuing a Pre-Medical Track that will put her on the path to becoming a pediatrician. Vongai’s research interests lie in the bidirectional relationship between early social environments and neurophysiology as well as the evolution of this relationship with age and experience.

Soaad Hammami

NYUAD Undergraduate Student

Soaad is a Syrian Undergraduate student majoring in Biology at NYUAD with a minor in Film and New Media. Her interests are founded in biochemistry, organic chemistry, science democratization and communication for the general public.


Mariam Anwar

NYUAD Undergraduate Student

Mariam is undergraduate student of biology on the pre-medical track, and minoring in literature and computer science. 

  • Old Post Doctoral Fellows



Post-Doctoral Fellow

He Liu received his medical degree, specializing in Anesthesiology in 2006. After graduating, He Liu undertook the anesthesiology residency program from 2006-2008. He completed his M.M. training in the Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Anesthesiology & Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Anesthesia and Analgesia Application Technology at Xuzhou Medical College, under the instruction of Professor Jun-li Cao (2011). He received his PhD in Anesthesiology from China Medical University under the instruction of Professor Li-Cai Zhang (2014). He subsequently worked as an anesthesiology residency in the Affiliated Hospital of Xuzhou Medical College (2014-2015). During training for his M.M. and PhD, he performed a series of studies investigating Regulation of Pain Signal Transduction. In 2015, he joined the team of Prof. Chaudhury in NYUAD as a Postdoctoral Associate investigating functional changes in neural circuits connecting the circadian clock of the brain to regions associated with mood disorders such as depression.

  • Past Members




NYUAD Graduate Student

Gloria Jansen graduated from NYUAD majoring in Biology with a specialization in Brain & Cognitive Science. As part of her undergraduate research at NYU Abu Dhabi, Gloria spearheaded the use of transcriptomics to determine neuronal sub-populations in mice that are resilient or susceptible to chronic social defeat stress. After graduating from NYUAD Gloria received an MRC fellowship is currently studying for a PhD in Cambridge University.



NYUAD Graduate Student

Merima Sabanovic graduated from NYUAD majoring in Biology with a specialization in Brain and Cognitive Science and a minor in Psychology. Merima pioneered the winner-loser behavioural paradigm in the lab, which she d to investigate the effects of social stress exposure on expression of social dominance in rodents. After graduating from NYUAD she won a place  with the Wellcome Trust Doctoral Training Program in Neuroscience, with further funding provided by the Clarendon Fund and is currently studying for a PhD in Oxford University.



NYUSH Graduate student

Christina graduated from New York University Shanghai (NYUSH). She volunteered in the lab during her 3rd year studies at NYUAD and was enormously helpful in setting up the lab.



NYUAD Graduate Student

Hala is a Palestinian-American graduated from NYUAD majoring in Biology. She is most passionate about health policy and hopes her work in that field can have a more widespread, global impact on healthcare. Her research interests focus on investigating the impact of induced jet lag models on susceptibility to stress-related depression in mice.