Kajana Satkunendrarajah

How did you become interested in neuroscience?
I have always been very intrigued by the complex nature of human development and functioning. The fact that human function and behavior can be explained by the molecular, cellular and electrical events in the nervous system is fascinating. Most importantly, neuroscience research has a wide range of applications in all aspects of life.

What is your current research project?
I am currently examining the neuroprotective role of riluzole on forelimb and respiratory motor function following mid-cervical spinal cord injury. In addition, I am examining the ability of neural precursor cells to improve axonal conduction and autonomic functional recovery following acute spinal cord injury.

What has been a great learning experience during your studies?
I learned that there are many uncertainties involved in neuroscience research mostly due to the complex nature of the nervous system. However, I feel extremely excited, knowing there are lots of newly developed and innovative tools available to continue the progress in neuroscience.

What has been a challenge you’ve faced in your research?
My pre-doctoral and post-doctoral work has been exciting. It took me some time to understand and accept that some experiments will fail and that it is important to remain optimistic and persevere.

What are your career aspirations?
I enjoy both the challenges and rewards of neuroscience research. I would like to pursue my research in the field of spinal cord injury in the hopes of one day discovering therapeutic strategies for the treatment of spinal cord injury. I hope to have my own laboratory to pursue my research and have the opportunity to teach the complex and amazing features of neuroscience.

What do you enjoy when you find time away from your research?
I am a proud mom of two beautiful children and when I am away from research I love spending time with them. In my spare time, I love running, doing yoga and performing Indian classical dance.