Advisory Board

Professor Veena Prahlad

Veena Prahlad, Ph.D. is Associate Professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Iowa, with her research focus on genetics and neurobiology.

She is the author of a study that shows how worms learn and respond to stress and could lead to a new approach for treating neurodegenerative diseases in humans caused by damaged cells.

The Aging Mind and Brain Initiative (AMBI) is a group of investigators that chose to come to the University of Iowa specifically to work on issues related to aging. As faculty members of many different departments throughout the University of Iowa, their strength as individual investigators is multiplied by their collaborative efforts.

Her lab works on understanding how the nervous system of C. elegans controls the cellular response to stress and protein misfolding. Specifically, her lab uses the powerful genetic techniques made possible by the use of C. elegans to search the answers to:

  • What genes and signaling pathways are involved in how the nervous system detects suboptimal environmental conditions, or stress
  • What signaling pathways are responsible for transmitting this information to non-neuronal cells
  • How is the accumulation of protein damage in non-neuronal cells communicated to the nervous system
  • How do these signaling mechanisms ultimately result in an adaptive, organismal response to macromolecular damage and stress.

Veena received multiple grants from the NIH, the latest of them for Uncovering how serotonergic signaling non-autonomously regulates protein homeostasis (2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019), Investigating how intestinal innate immunity confers neuroprotection using C. elegans (2018), and for Uncovering non-autonomous mechanisms of control over translational attenuation during heat shock in the metazoan C. elegans (2016, 2017).

She is also a speaker and lecturer at various Seminars, talking about her research, among others about Neurosensory control of the heat shock transcription factor HSF1 at Cornell, Rethinking protein homeostasis in a metazoan: A case of nerves? at the GDCB Seminar at Iowa, at URMC, and at Washington State University.

Veena also contributed the 3rd chapter Aging and the Brain of The Wiley Handbook on the Aging Mind and Brain.

She earned her undergraduate degree at St. Joseph’s College in Bangalore, India in 1990. In 1992, she earned her Master’s Degree of Science in Life Sciences from Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, India, and her Ph.D. from Northwestern University in 1999. She completed two postdoctoral fellowships, one in Genetics at the University of Madison and the other in Molecular Biosciences at Northwestern.

Her recent research publications include:

Read Worms learn to smell danger and Could Ancestral Memories of Experiences Really Be Inherited? Read Scientists Discover Secret to Why We Grow Old in a Lowly Roundworm.

Visit her university page, Google Scholar page, ResearchGate profile, and Academia profile. Read about her Aging Mind and Brain Initiative.