Prof. Vidita Vaidya on a Neuroscientist’s Guide to Managing Stress, Depression, and Emotions (#010)

This Episode is also available on: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Anchor.FM

About Prof. Vidita Vaidya

Prof. Vidita Vaidya is the Head and Principal Investigator of the Vaidya Lab at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Mumbai.

Prof. Vaidya (and by extension, her lab) is interested in:

  1. Understanding the Neurocircuitry of Emotion
  2. Its modulation by Life Experience and Mood Modulatory Drugs
  3. The alterations in Emotional Neurocircuitry that underlie Complex Psychiatric Disorders like Anxiety and Depression

She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Life-Science and Biochemistry from St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai. She holds a PhD in Neuroscience from Yale University and did her Post-Doctoral work at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden and the University of Oxford in the UK.

In 2015, she received the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize for Science and Technology for notable and outstanding research, applied or fundamental, in the field of Medicine, from the Government of India.

When not in the lab, Vidita moonlights as an avid storyteller, frequent traveller, occasional salsa dancer, and a scientific outreach enthusiast.

Selected Links and Show Notes

Selected Links

  1. Connect with Prof. Vidita Vaidya
    1. Twitter
    2. Faculty Webpage
  2. The Vaidya Lab at TIFR, Mumbai
  3. Prof. Vaidya’s Doctoral and Post-Doctoral Advisors
    1. Prof. Ronald Dunman (Yale University)
    2. Prof. Ernest Arenas (Karolinska Institute)
    3. Dr. David Grahame-Smith (University of Oxford)
  4. The Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize for Science and Technology
    1. About the Prize
    2. Sir Shanti Swaroop Bhatnagar
    3. Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR)
  5. Dian Fossey
    1. About
    2. The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund
    3. Gorillas in the Mist: A Remarkable Story of Thirteen Years Spent Living with the Greatest of the Great Apes (Book)
    4. Dian Fossey Narrates Her Life With Gorillas in This Vintage Footage (National Geographic)
  6. Jane Goodall
    1. About
    2. The Jane Goodall Institute
    3. In the Shadow of Man (Book)
    4. My Life With The Chimpanzees (Book)
    5. First Look at Jane (National Geographic)
  7. How Our Brain Changes with Experience (TEDxStXaviersMumbai)
  8. Molecules that Modulate your Mood (Chai and Why?)
  9. Your Brain on Stress
  10. Serotonin: The Programming of Emotionality
  11. Friends and Why We Need Them: Robin Dunbar and Vidita Vaidya
  12. Selected Scientific Publications
    1. The adaptive and maladaptive continuum of stress responses – a hippocampal perspective
    2. Depression – emerging insights from neurobiology

Show Notes

On her childhood and early years [01:56]

Being inspired by Dian Fossey and Jane Goodall [04:01]

Education and learning experience at St. Xavier’s College [06:19]

Life-changing piece of advice from her father [07:58]

Steep learning curve at Graduate School [08:45]

The Pedagogical differences between the US and European Schools [10:30]

Coming home to TIFR [12:10]

Study of Emotions and interest in that area [13:34]

Talking about her lab and the research work she does [16:30]

Application of her research to real-life situations [19:20]

SARS-COV-2 Vaccine Example [21:31]

Correlation of Lifestyle Disorders and Brain Functioning [22:23]

The impact of early life experiences on the brain related to growth [26:40]

Critical Period for Learning and Stress Coping Responses [31:44]

How Stress Response Pathways are built [32:54]

Coping and building Stress Resistant Pathways[35:42]

Building a stress-free Indian Society [36:50]

Getting over Psychological Stressors in Children [39:26]

Importance of Play in building stress mechanisms in children under the ages of 10 to 15 [42:02]

Building a Nurturing Environment in Middle-Class Households [42:38]

Importance of enjoying what you do and mindset-shift in parents [47:11]

How do you measure the scope of a PhD? [48:38]

Developing Stress Coping Mechanisms in people who are a part of today’s workforce [49:45]

Rumination and how it impacts the Brain [52:05]

On what improves the production of Neurons in the Brain [55:00]

On what happens when you have more Neurons in the Brain [56:00]

Impact of taking Anti-Depressants [57:50]

On Continuous Learning[01:00:38]

Broad trends in Neuroscience and on how the field will transform [01:04:38]

Brain-Machine Interfaces, AI, and Machine Learning [01:08:54]

What would be the three pieces of advice Prof. Vaidya would give herself if she was 10 years old, today [01:09:42]

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