Dr Asheeta   Prasad
Adjunct Senior Lecturer

Dr Asheeta Prasad

Doctor of Philosophy
University of Utrecht, the Netherlands

Masters of Molecular Biology
University of Queensland, Australia

Bachelor of Science (Biomedical Science)
University of Western Sydney, Australia

School of Psychology

I am interested in the wiring of the brain, how neurons grow and form neural circuits and their functions. My research focuses on neural circuitry underlying complex behaviors such as learning, memory, reward related behavior and movement. Disturbances in the neural circuitry of these behaviours contribute to pathophysiology of several neurological disorders such as drug addiction, depression, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease and Multiple sclerosis. I apply unique and interdisciplinary research tools of molecular biology, optogenetics, chemogenetics and behavioral neuroscience.



  • Book Chapters | 2019
    Prasad AA; McNally GP, 2019, 'Chapter 17 Ventral Pallidum and Alcohol Addiction', in Neuroscience of Alcohol, pp. 163 - 170, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/b978-0-12-813125-1.00017-9
    Book Chapters | 2019
    Prasad AA; McNally GP, 2019, 'Ventral pallidum and alcohol addiction', in Neuroscience of Alcohol: Mechanisms and Treatment, pp. 163 - 170, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-813125-1.00017-9
    Book Chapters | 2009
    Prasad AA; Pasterkamp RJ, 2009, 'Axon guidance in the dopamine system.', in Development and Engineering of Dopamine Neurons, Springer New York, pp. 91 - 100, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-0322-8_9
  • Journal articles | 2020
    Xie C; Prasad AA, 2020, 'Probiotics treatment improves hippocampal dependent cognition in a rodent model of parkinson’s disease', Microorganisms, vol. 8, pp. 1 - 13, http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms8111661
    Journal articles | 2020
    Prasad AA; McNally GP, 2020, 'The ventral pallidum and relapse in alcohol seeking', British Journal of Pharmacology, vol. 177, pp. 3855 - 3864, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bph.15160
    Journal articles | 2020
    Liu Y; Jean-Richard-Dit-Bressel P; Yau JOY; Willing A; Prasad AA; Power JM; Killcross S; Clifford CWG; McNally GP, 2020, 'The mesolimbic dopamine activity signatures of relapse to alcohol-seeking', Journal of Neuroscience, vol. 40, pp. 6409 - 6427, http://dx.doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.072420.2020
    Journal articles | 2020
    Prasad AA; Xie C; Chaichim C; Nguyen JH; McClusky HE; Killcross S; Power JM; McNally GP, 2020, 'Complementary roles for ventral pallidum cell types and their projections in relapse', Journal of Neuroscience, vol. 40, pp. 880 - 893, http://dx.doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0262-19.2019
    Journal articles | 2018
    Gibson GD; Prasad AA; Jean-Richard-dit-Bressel P; Yau JOY; Millan EZ; Liu Y; Campbell EJ; Lim J; Marchant NJ; Power JM; Killcross S; Lawrence AJ; McNally GP, 2018, 'Distinct Accumbens Shell Output Pathways Promote versus Prevent Relapse to Alcohol Seeking', Neuron, vol. 98, pp. 512 - 520.e6, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuron.2018.03.033
    Journal articles | 2017
    Khoo SYS; Gibson GD; Prasad AA; McNally GP, 2017, 'How contexts promote and prevent relapse to drug seeking', Genes, Brain and Behavior, vol. 16, pp. 185 - 204, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/gbb.12328
    Journal articles | 2016
    Prasad AA; McNally GP, 2016, 'Ventral pallidum output pathways in context-induced reinstatement of alcohol seeking', Journal of Neuroscience, vol. 36, pp. 11716 - 11726, http://dx.doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2580-16.2016
    Journal articles | 2015
    Morello F; Prasad AA; Rehberg K; de Sá RV; Antón-Bolaños N; Leyva-Diaz E; Adolfs Y; Tissir F; López-Bendito G; Pasterkamp RJ, 2015, 'Frizzled3 controls axonal polarity and intermediate target entry during striatal pathway development', Journal of Neuroscience, vol. 35, pp. 14205 - 14219, http://dx.doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1840-15.2015
    Journal articles | 2015
    Khoo AT; Gibson GD; Prasad AA; McNally GP, 2015, 'Role of the striatopallidal pathway in renewal and reacquisition of alcohol seeking', Behavioral Neuroscience, vol. 129, pp. 2 - 7, http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/bne0000036
    Journal articles | 2014
    Prasad AA; McNally GP, 2014, 'Effects of vivo morpholino knockdown of lateral hypothalamus orexin/hypocretin on renewal of alcohol seeking', PLoS ONE, vol. 9, http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0110385
    Journal articles | 2013
    Blakely BD; Bye CR; Fernando CV; Prasad AA; Jeroen Pasterkamp R; MacHeda ML; Stacker SA; Parish CL, 2013, 'Ryk, a receptor regulating wnt5a-mediated neurogenesis and axon morphogenesis of ventral midbrain dopaminergic neurons', Stem Cells and Development, vol. 22, pp. 2132 - 2144, http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/scd.2013.0066
    Journal articles | 2010
    Fenstermaker AG; Prasad AA; Bechara A; Adolfs Y; Tissir F; Goffinet A; Zou Y; Pasterkamp RJ, 2010, 'Wnt/planar cell polarity signaling controls the anterior-posterior organization of monoaminergic axons in the brainstem', Journal of Neuroscience, vol. 30, pp. 16053 - 16064, http://dx.doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4508-10.2010
    Journal articles | 2009
    Kolk SM; Gunput RAF; Tran TS; Van Den Heuvel DMA; Prasad AA; Hellemons AJCGM; Adolfs Y; Ginty DD; Kolodkin AL; Burbach JPH; Smidt MP; Pasterkamp RJ, 2009, 'Semaphorin 3F is a bifunctional guidance cue for dopaminergic axons and controls their fasciculation, channeling, rostral growth, and intracortical targeting', Journal of Neuroscience, vol. 29, pp. 12542 - 12557, http://dx.doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2521-09.2009
    Journal articles | 2008
    Pietersen AM; Evers B; Prasad AA; Tanger E; Cornelissen-Steijger P; Jonkers J; van Lohuizen M, 2008, 'Bmi1 Regulates Stem Cells and Proliferation and Differentiation of Committed Cells in Mammary Epithelium', Current Biology, vol. 18, pp. 1094 - 1099, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2008.06.070
    Journal articles | 2021
    Kupchik YM; Prasad AA, 2021, 'Ventral pallidum cellular and pathway specificity in drug seeking', Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, vol. 131, pp. 373 - 386, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neubiorev.2021.09.007
  • Preprints |
    Prasad AA; Xie C; Chaichim C; Killcross S; Power JM; McNally GP, Complementary roles for ventral pallidum cell types and their projections in relapse, http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/533554
    Preprints |
    Liu Y; Jean-Richard-dit-Bressel P; Yau JO-Y; Willing A; Prasad AA; Power JM; Killcross S; Clifford CWG; McNally GP, The mesolimbic dopamine signatures of relapse to alcohol-seeking, http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/2020.03.06.981605


2017      Discovery Early Career Research Award

2017      Travel award from Asia-Pacific Alcohol Addiction Research Society

2016      Finalist Parkinson’s NSW Young Investigator

2016      FENS-SfN Summer School on Cellular Mechanisms and Networks in Addiction                                                                                                                                 

2005      University of Queensland Dean’s Commendation for Academic Excellence in Masters of Molecular Biology


Sole CI Grants     

2019-2021           National Health and Medical Research Council                                 $507,000   

2018                     Silver Star Award, UNSW                                                                          $20,000                                    

2017-2018           Parkinson’s NSW seed fund                                                                     $44,000

2017-2020           Discovery Early Career Research Fellow                                               $388,000

2018                    Vice Chancellor’s Chidcare Fund                                                             $1600  

2016-2017           Parkinson’s NSW seed fund                                                                     $40,000

2015-2017          Career Advancement Funds, University of New South Wales        $10,000                                                  

2011                     Thesis provision funds, Rudolf Magnus Institute                                €1000


Collaborative grants

2019 The UNSW Research Infrastructure Scheme with Claire Shepherd and team $108,000

2018 Brain Sciences and Translational Neuroscience Seed Funding scheme. Asheeta Prasad, Claire Shepherd, Adith Mohan and Perminder Sachdev $19,983

2017 Brain Sciences UNSW: Dr Asheeta Prasad, Professor Michael Farrell and Professor Gavan McNally $1565

2017 Brain Sciences UNSW: Dr Asheeta Prasad, Professor Rick Richardson and Professor Margaret Morris $1700