Member Spotlight

Naresh Hanchate, PhD

March 17, 2023

I am a Principal Investigator at the University College London (UCL) Institute of Child Health, UK. My research has focused on understanding the mechanisms through which the brain controls physiology and behavior, particularly those involved in basic innate functions, such as stress, reproduction, & metabolism. At UCL, my lab’s research focuses on molecularly and functionally mapping the brain circuitry of stress and the ill effects of chronic stress, particularly during early life and adolescence, on brain circuitry and function. We employ multidisciplinary approaches, integrating new single-cell genomics tools (that I previously developed), computational methods, and systems neurosciences. During my postdoctoral training with Dr. Linda Buck at Fred Hutch, Seattle, my initial efforts using single-cell transcriptomics provided novel insights into the developmental mechanisms that shape the sense of smell. Later, to facilitate molecular and functional mapping of neural circuits in the brain, I developed new methods, termed “Connect-seq” and “nuc-Connect-seq,” by coupling single cell/nucleus transcriptomics and retrograde viral tracing. In 2021, I received the prestigious UCL Excellence Fellowship (supported by GOSH Children’s Charity, Stoneygate Trust, and the Rosetrees Trust) to establish my research program at UCL.

What is your favorite Endocrine Society memory?

There are many but receiving an Outstanding Abstract Award at the ENDO 2020 meeting is my favorite one.

How has Endocrine Society supported your professional development/career journey?

In many ways! The Society’s journal and news platforms publish discoveries and breakthroughs in endocrinology research and, therefore, helps me learn the latest literature and findings.

It also hosts one of the largest ENDO meetings and provides an excellent platform to learn about advances in the field and helped me connect me with the experts in the field.

What experience led you to the study of the endocrine system?

For over 14 years, I have been fascinated by hypothalamic neuroendocrine pathways, which are the essential conduits between the nervous and endocrine systems. Although the neuroendocrine cells (e.g., GnRH, CRH) constitute a tiny fraction (a few thousand) of cells in the mammalian brain, composed of millions of billions of cells, they are essential to keep the body in homeostasis and the survival of species.

While working on my PhD studies, I was intrigued by the embryonic origin and migration of GnRH neurons – the master regulators of mammalian reproduction – from the nose to the brain. During my postdoc, I turned my interest to the neuroendocrine CRH Neurons, which control blood levels of stress hormones. Given that stress is implicated in various neurological and metabolic disorders, my recent efforts are focused on investigating the molecular and circuit pathways underlying the neuroendocrine control of stress in health and disease.

What would you most like to tell yourself at 18?

Never take life too seriously!

What is the best thing about what you are working on right now?

Right now, I'm having fun setting up the lab, although it is a bit time-consuming than I anticipated. I'm continuing to work on a few postdoc projects while developing new projects that I am very excited about. I'm also excited about building an enthusiastic team of scientists with whom I can share the joy and pleasures of discovering new biological phenomena and unfolding the mysteries of the brain!

If Endocrine Society could add one benefit, what would it be?

The Endocrine Society is a global community with ~18,000 members across 120 countries. However, some of the Society’s career and professional development programs, such as the FLARE program, are available only for US citizens and US permanent residents. Many of the Society’s members are visa holders living in the US and from outside the US. I hope the Society would consider making such programs accessible to the PhD and postdoc scientists working in the US on temporary visas (such as J1, H1B) and, also, to the members living outside the US.

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