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Adithya E. Rajagopalan, PhD

2024 Leon Levy Scholar in Neuroscience

New York University

Sub-disciplinary Category

Systems Neuroscience

Previous Positions

  • BS, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research
  • MS, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research
  • PhD, John Hopkins University (Advisor: Dr. Glenn C. Turner)


Dr. Adithya E. Rajagopalan is currently a postdoctoral associate in Dr. Christine Constantinople’s lab at NYU’s Center for Neural Science where he studies the rules and algorithms governing decision making. Prior to this, he obtained a dual BS/MS degree in Biology from the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research in Pune, India in 2017. Working with Dr. Collins Assisi for his masters thesis, he used computational approaches to understand how the function of brain regions are affected by their neuronal connectivity. In 2023, he then earned his PhD in Neuroscience from Johns Hopkins University working with Dr. Glenn Turner at the HHMI Janelia Research Campus. Here, he used fruitflies as a model system to expand theories about how brains make decisions in the face of uncertainty. Outside the lab, he is an avid science-communicator and writes articles aimed at sharing cutting edge scientific research with the wider public.

Research Summary

Examining how neurons within the brain’s orbitofrontal cortex, combine input from other brain regions to encode complex properties of the world that guide decision-making.

Technical Overview

Animals often must infer hidden information about the state of the world to determine the best actions to take. Computational accounts of neuropsychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia posit that such pathologies stem from deficits in state-inference. A large body of research has pointed towards the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) as a key region involved in the state-inference process. However, how neurons within the OFC construct representations of inferred states remains a fundamental outstanding question in neuroscience. Dr. Adithya Rajagopalan’s work hypothesizes that long-range signals to the OFC from other brain regions convey information about sensory observations and history that are combined for inference. He will therefore take a multimodal approach using multi-regional recordings, optogenetic perturbations, and statistical modeling to determine how representations of inferred states are constructed in rats performing a complex decision-making task. This work will expand upon studies in sensory systems and invertebrate cognitive circuits to understand how responses supporting inference derive from the integration of presynaptic inputs and will open doors for a better understanding of decision-making deficits in psychopathology.