Academic Profile

Academic Profile

Assoc Prof Ajai Vyas

Associate Professor, School of Biological Sciences
Assistant Dean (Academic), College of Science

Assoc Prof Ajai Vyas

I am currently an Associate Professor at the School of Biological Sciences in NTU.

I studied agriculture in BSc and then conducted research into soil microbiology during my master's research at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute. I finished my Ph.D. at for Biological Sciences working on the effect of immobilization stress on the brain and hormones of animals. I joined NTU in early 2009 after a stint at Stanford University as a postdoctoral scholar.
Research Interests
I lead the Ethoneuro lab, situated within the School of Biological Sciences at Nanyang Technological University. Continually updated news and information about the Ethoneuro group can be found on the website:

A continually updated list of publications can be found through Google Scholar at

We are broadly interested in the backwash effects of death on the processes of life. The finite nature of life creates a variety of trade-offs in individuals. We are interested in how these trade-offs reflect in the brain and hormones. We use perturbation models in our approach. These models include manipulation of host behavior by coevolving parasites, the breakdown of learning and memory due to aging, and the effects of predator presence on prey physiology. These diverse approaches are united by our vision of placing the form and function of the neuroendocrine system within a framework of biological evolution.

At the Ethoneuro group, we take pride in combining a mechanistic view of neuroendocrinology with its mooring in the evolution and ecological conditions. We pursue biology that occurs at the overlaps of three fascinating domains, namely, neuroendocrinology of behavior, extended phenotypes caused by parasites and, life history plasticity.

We have a healthy disrespect for artificial separation between fundamental and clinical biology. Our work relates to both fundamental understanding of biological processes (e.g., the trade-off between reproduction and defense in the brain or non-consumptive effects of predation) and issues closer to the human condition (e.g., optogenetic modulation of memory in dementia models or sexually transmitted protozoan infections).
We are looking forward to new colleagues to join our group. This includes project officers, Ph.D. scholars, and postdoctoral scholars. The Ethoneuro group has a collegial and open working environment. Please write to Ajai ( if you are interested.
Current Projects
  • Biological mechanisms in rat brain mediating attractive and aversive social behaviors
  • Carpe diem impulsivity: Optogenetic manipulation of the impulsive decision making in rodents
  • Defining the brain circuitry defects that cause dementia
  • Discovering hormones and pheromones mediating mate choice
  • Disentangling trophic and sexual transmission dynamics in a ubiquitous parasite
  • Hormones at the interface between ecology and neurobiology
  • Neurobiology of Toxoplasma infection
  • Potential sexual transmission of Toxoplasma gondii in humans
  • Sexually dimoprhic mechanisms underlying behavioral change in rodent hosts after Toxoplasma infection

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