Faculty Profile

Radhika Basheer, PhD

Associate Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School
Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry, VA Boston Healthcare System

See publications

Phone 857-203-6181
Fax 857-203-5592

Society Memberships

Sleep Research Society
Society for Neuroscience
European Sleep Research Society

Research Unit(s)

Section of Molecular Neuroscience, Laboratory of Neuroscience, Harvard Medical School, Department of Psychiatry at V.A. Boston Healthcare System

Research Interests

Dr. Basheer’s research focuses on the molecular and cellular mechanisms involved in sleep-wake regulation. The current focus is to determine the molecular and biochemical changes in the brain following short- and long-term sleep deprivation. Prolonged sleep deprivation as is often required by the military on duty, physicians and other health professionals can result in increased sleepiness and subsequent decline in neurobehavioral alertness, memory and other physiological processes. A better understanding of the underlying mechanisms that lead to the detrimental effects of sleep deprivation is cardinal to the development of treatment strategies for counteracting these effects. Her recent work describes the effects of sleep deprivation and resultant increase in extracellular adenosine in the cholinergic basal forebrain. Adenosine acting via A1adenosine receptor activates a cascade of signal transduction pathway resulting in increased intracellular calcium leading to the activation of a transcription factor NF-kB and possibly transcription of genes that may play a role in long term effects of sleep deprivation.


Katie Commons, PhD 1990-1991
Jian Yang,MS 1992-1994; Lalini Ramanathan, PhD 1994-1997
Danielle Serabello MS, 1994-1995
Ramesh Vijay, PhD 2001-2006
Nina Sund, BS 2003
Live Kjesti Skarland, B.S. 2003
Ritchie Brown, PhD 2004-2005
LiChao Chen PhD 2005-2006
Anna Kalinchuk, PhD 2006


Research Funding

V.A. Medical Service Merit Award
Role of Adenosine and NF-kB in Prolonged Wakefulness: A Molecular Study,
P.I: Radhika Basheer
Brief description: The broad objective of this proposal is to examine the molecular mechanisms and  adenosinergic effects involved in mediating the long term effect of sleep deprivation

Synaptic Basis of sleep-wake regulation, PI: Robert W. McCarley
Brief description: Broad objective of this proposal is to study, adenosinergic, GABAergic, Histaminergic mechanisms in forebrain and brainstem involved in the regulation of Wake, Slow wave sleep and REM sleep

Selected Publications

Elmenhorst D, Basheer R, McCarley RW, Bauer A. Sleep deprivation increases A(1) adenosine receptor density in the rat brain.
Brain Res. 2009 Mar 3;1258:53-8. [PMID: 19146833]

Brown RE, McKenna JT, Winston S, Basheer R, Yanagawa Y, Thakkar MM, McCarley RW. Characterization of GABAergic neurons in rapid-eye-movement sleep controlling regions of the brainstem reticular formation in GAD67-green fluorescent protein knock-in mice. Eur J Neurosci. 2008 Jan;27(2):352-63. [PMID: 18215233]

Basheer R, Bauer A, Elmenhorst D, Ramesh V, McCarley RW. Sleep deprivation upregulates A1 adenosine receptors in the rat basal forebrain.
Neuroreport. 2007  Dec 3;18(18):1895-9. [PMID: 18007182]

Ramesh V, Thatte HS, McCarley RW, Basheer R. Adenosine and sleep deprivation promote NF-kappaB nuclear translocation in cholinergic basal forebrain.
J Neurochem. 2007 Mar;100(5):1351-63. [PMID: 17316404]

Elmenhorst D, Meyer PT, Winz OH, Matusch A, Ermert J, Coenen HH, Basheer R, Haas HL, Zilles K, Bauer A. Sleep deprivation increases A1 adenosine receptor binding in the human brain: a positron emission tomography study.
J Neurosci. 2007 Feb 28;27(9):2410-5. [PMID: 17329439]

Chen L, Thakkar MM, Winston S, Bolortuya Y, Basheer R, McCarley RW. REM sleep  changes in rats induced by siRNA-mediated orexin knockdown.
Eur J Neurosci. 2006  Oct;24(7):2039-48. [PMID: 17067300]

Strecker RE, Basheer R, McKenna JT, McCarley RW. Another chapter in the adenosine story.
Sleep. 2006 Apr 1;29(4):426-8. [PMID: 16676774]

Basheer R, Brown R, Ramesh V, Begum S, McCarley RW. Sleep deprivation-induced protein changes in basal forebrain: implications for synaptic plasticity.
J Neurosci Res. 2005 Dec 1;82(5):650-8. [PMID: 16273548]

Basheer R, Strecker RE, Thakkar MM, McCarley RW. Adenosine and sleep-wake regulation.
Prog Neurobiol. 2004 Aug;73(6):379-96. Review. [PMID: 15313333]

Ramesh V, Thakkar MM, Strecker RE, Basheer R, McCarley RW. Wakefulness-inducing effects of histamine in the basal forebrain of freely moving rats.
Behav Brain Res. 2004 Jul 9;152(2):271-8. [PMID: 15196795]

Basheer R, Arrigoni E, Thatte HS, Greene RW, Ambudkar IS, McCarley RW. Adenosine induces inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptor-mediated mobilization of intracellular calcium stores in basal forebrain cholinergic neurons.
J Neurosci. 2002 Sep 1;22(17):7680-6. [PMID: 12196591]

Basheer R, Halldner L, Alanko L, McCarley RW, Fredholm BB, Porkka-Heiskanen T. Opposite changes in adenosine A1 and A2A receptor mRNA in the rat following sleep deprivation.
Neuroreport. 2001 Jun 13;12(8):1577-80. [PMID: 11409719]

Basheer R, Rainnie DG, Porkka-Heiskanen T, Ramesh V, McCarley RW. Adenosine, prolonged wakefulness, and A1-activated NF-kappaB DNA binding in the basal forebrain of the rat.
Neuroscience. 2001;104(3):731-9. [PMID: 11440805]

Basheer R, Porkka-Heiskanen T, Strecker RE, Thakkar MM, McCarley RW. Adenosine as a biological signal mediating sleepiness following prolonged wakefulness.
Biol Signals Recept. 2000 Nov-Dec;9(6):319-27. Review. [PMID: 11025338]

Strecker RE, Morairty S, Thakkar MM, Porkka-Heiskanen T, Basheer R, Dauphin LJ, Rainnie DG, Portas CM, Greene RW, McCarley RW. Adenosinergic modulation of basal forebrain and preoptic/anterior hypothalamic neuronal activity in the control of behavioral state.
Behav Brain Res. 2000 Nov;115(2):183-204. [PMID: 11000420]

Basheer R, Porkka-Heiskanen T, Stenberg D, McCarley RW. Adenosine and behavioral state control: adenosine increases c-Fos protein and AP1 binding in basal forebrain of rats.
Brain Res Mol Brain Res. 1999 Nov 10;73(1-2):1-10. [PMID: 10581392]

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