Manoj A. Upadhya

Postdoctoral Research Associate, Neuroscience & Pharmacy Department 

 Manoj Profile

School of Life & Health Sciences
Aston University, Aston Triangle
Birmingham, B4 7ET


Room: MB439


I joined Aston School of Life and Health Sciences in April 2019, having spent the previous 1.5 years as Research Associate at Neuroscience and Neuronal Connectivity Laboratory, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pune, India. Prior to that, I spent 2 years at Sunpharma Advanced Research Company Ltd., India and was Senior Executive Scientist in Drug Discovery Biology Unit. I also served as Assistant Professor in Pharmacology at SKB College of Pharmacy, RTM Nagpur University, India for 2.5 years
  • Bachelors of Pharmacy with First Class, RTM Nagpur University, Nagpur, India, 2005
  • Master of Pharmacy (Pharmacology) with First Class, RTM Nagpur University, Nagpur, India, 2007
  • PhD in Faculty of Medicine, RTM Nagpur University, India, 2013
  • April, 2019 – date: Postdoctoral Research Associate, Aston School of Life and Health Sciences, Aston University.
  • November, 2017 – April, 2019: Postdoctoral Research Associate, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pune, India.
  • November, 2015 – November, 2017: Senior Executive Scientist, Drug Discovery Biology, Sunpharma Advanced Research Company Ltd., Vadodara, India.
  • August, 2013 – November, 2015: Assistant Professor in Pharmacology, SKB College of Pharmacy, New Kamptee, India
Teaching experience in subjects like Human Anatomy and Physiology, Advanced Physiology and Pathophysiology, Pharmacology and Toxicology, Drug Discovery and Biological Evaluation, Clinical Research, Pharmacoeconomics 
  • I am interested in the behavioural aspects and molecular mechanisms of pain. My research work primarily involves the behavioural and functional assessment, and modulation of TRP ion channels in sensory neurons under physiological and disease conditions, and how they contribute to hyperalgesia.
  • Prior to this assignment, my work was directed towards investigating the physiological and functional role of CART peptide in neurological disorders employing rats and mice as experimental models. I demonstrated that endogenous CART potentiates spatial learning and memory behaviour and modulates the effects of cholinergic agents in the management of Alzheimer’s disease like conditions in rats. I showed that CART in accumbens shell in brain serve as an essential component of the opiod-mesolimbic dopaminergic reward system. Further I studied that CART also process predator induced fear in the neuronal circuitry that operates across the hypothalamo-amygdalar circuit. Later I demonstrated the role of CART as neuroprotective agent in the prevention of Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease since it increased the dopamine content in brain. CART also modulates the neuropathic pain and closely interacts with the glucocorticoids in nerve damage ailments like spinal cord injury. Thus, I concluded that upregulation of endogenous CART system might serve as fruitful strategy in the treatment of a range of pathophysiological conditions and neurodegenerative diseases. This research work has led to several high impact publications in journals like Addiction Biology, Neuropharmacology, Behavioural Brain Research, Brain Research, Peptides, Life Sciences, Neuropeptides, etc.
  • Before joining IISER Pune, I worked with Drug Discovery Biology team at Sun Pharma Advanced Research Company Ltd., India (SPARC), a leading pharmaceutical company.  With SPARC, I served as Lead Scientist for the assessment of molecules in Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and Huntington's diseases. We proposed one SPARC molecule as a drug candidate for Parkinson's disease therapy, and could publish one international patent in WIPO entitled "Treatment for Parkinson's disease".
  • Techniques expertise: Behavioural Pharmacology, Immunohistochemistry, Transcardial perfusions, Neuroanatomy and Brain dissection, Molecular Biology
  • Life Member, Indian Pharmacological Society (IPS).
  • Life Member, Indian Pharmacy Graduates’ Association (IPGA).
  • Life Member, Society for Neurochemistry India (SNCI).

Upadhya MA, Upadhya HM, Borkar CD, Choudhary A, Singh U, Chavan P, Sakharkar A, Singru P, Subhedar NK, Kokare DM. Melanocortin-4 receptors modulate nicotine-induced brain stimulation reward in ovariectomized rats. Neuroscience 2019 (Manuscript under revision).

Upadhya MA, Shelkar GP, Subhedar NK, Kokare DM. CART modulates the effects of levodopa in rat model of Parkinson's disease. Behavioral Brain Research 2016; 301:262-272.

Borkar C, Upadhya M, Shelkar G, Subhedar N, Kokare D. Neuropeptide Y system in accumbens shell mediates ethanol self-administration in posterior ventral tegmental area. Addiction Biology 2016; 21(4):766-75. 

Subhedar NK, Nakhate KT, Upadhya MA, Kokare DM. CART in the brain of vertebrates: circuits, functions and evolution. Peptides 2014; 54:108-130. 

Kotagale NR, Upadhya M, Hadole PN, Kokare DM, Taksande BG. Involvement of hypothalamic neuropeptide Y in pentazocine induced suppression of food intake in rats. Neuropeptides 2014; 48:133-141.

Desai SJ, Bharne AP, Upadhya MA, Somalwar AR, Subhedar NK, Kokare DM. A simple and economical method of electrode fabrication for brain self-stimulation in rats. Journal of Pharmacological and Toxicological Methods 2014; 69:141-149.

Desai SJ, Upadhya MA, Subhedar NK, Kokare DM. NPY mediates reward activity of morphine, via NPY Y1 receptors, in the nucleus accumbens shell. Behavioral Brain Research 2013; 247:79-91.

Upadhya MA, Kokare DM, Subhedar NK. Cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript (CART) in the central nucleus of amygdala potentiates the behavioral and hormonal response of the rat exposed to a predator. Behavioral Brain Research 2013; 243:129-137.

Bharne AP, Upadhya MA, Shelkar GP, Singru PS, Subhedar NK, Kokare DM. Neuroprotective effect of cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript peptide in spinal cord injury in mice. Neuropharmacology 2013; 67:126-135.

Rangani RJ, Upadhya MA, Nakhate KT, Kokare DM, Subhedar NK. Nicotine evoked improvement in learning and memory is mediated through NPY Y1 receptors in rat model of Alzheimer’s disease. Peptides 2012; 33(2):317-328.

Upadhya MA, Nakhate KT, Kokare DM, Singh U, Singru PS, Subhedar NK. CART peptide in the nucleus accumbens shell acts downstream to dopamine and mediates the reward and reinforcement actions of morphine. Neuropharmacology 2012; 62(4):1823-1833.

Upadhya MA, Nakhate KT, Kokare DM, Singru PS, Subhedar NK. Cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript peptide increases spatial learning and memory in rats. Life Sciences 2011; 88(7-8):322-334.

Upadhya MA, Dandekar MP, Kokare DM, Singru PS, Subhedar NK. Evidence for the participation of cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript peptide (CART) in the fluoxetine-induced anti-hyperalgesia in neuropathic rats. Peptides 2011; 32(2):317-326.

Bharne AP, Upadhya MA, Kokare DM, Subhedar NK. Effect of alpha-melanocyte stimulating hormone on locomotor recovery following spinal cord injury in mice: Role of serotonergic system. Neuropeptides 2011; 45(1):25-31.

Deo GS, Dandekar MP, Upadhya MA, Kokare DM, Subhedar NK. Neuropeptide Y Y1 receptors in the central nucleus of amygdala mediate the anxiolytic-like effect of allopregnanolone in mice: Behavioral and immunocytochemical evidences. Brain Research 2010; 1318:77-86.

Upadhya MA, Dandekar MP, Kokare DM, Singru PS, Subhedar NK. Involvement of neuropeptide Y in the acute, chronic and withdrawal responses of morphine in nociception in neuropathic rats: behavioral and neuroanatomical correlates. Neuropeptides 2009; 43(4):303-314.

Goyal SN, Upadhya MA, Kokare DM, Bhisikar SM, Subhedar NK. Neuropeptide Y modulates the antidepressant activity of imipramine in olfactory bulbectomized rats: Involvement of NPY Y1 receptors. Brain Research 2009; 1266:45-53.

Kalange AS, Kokare DM, Singru PS, Upadhya MA, Chopde CT, Subhedar NK. Central administration of selective melanocortin-4 receptor antagonist HS014 prevents morphine tolerance and withdrawal hyperalgesia. Brain Research 2007; 1181:10-20.