Trainee Profile

Vetrivelan Ramalingam, PhD

Assistant Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School
Academic Researcher, Department of Neurology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

See publications

Society Memberships

Society for Neuroscience
Sleep Research Society
Indian Society for Sleep Research
Association of Physiologists and Pharmacologists of India

Research Unit(s)

Systems Neurobiology Group(Saper)

Research Interests

Sleep and wakefulness are regulated by distinct neuronal circuits and specific neurotransmitters in the brain. Preoptic area (POA) and lateral hypothalamus (LH) are key structures involved in sleep-wake and body temperature regulation. We study the neural pathways and synaptic mechanisms by which POA and LH neurons regulate sleep and body temperature using a variety of state-of-art conditional genetic methods (optogenetics, chemogenetics, conditional knockout, calcium imaging and others).


Current trainees
Daniel Kroeger, PhD  2015- till date
Fumito Naganuma, Ph.D 2016-till date
Gianna Absi, BA 2016-till date
Ashley Gordon, 2017-till date
Nazifa Ibrahim, 2018-till date
Carol Lam, 2018-till date

Past trainees
Celia Gagliardi, BA 2015-2016
Bushra Anis, BA 2014-2015
Sofia Iqbal, BA 2012-2014


Research Funding

NIH/NINDS, PI: Vetrivelan Ramalingam, PhD, Neural mechanisms underlying REM sleep regulation by MCH neurons

Selected Publications

Chen MC, Vetrivelan R, Guo CN, Chang C, Fuller PM, Lu J. Ventral medullary control of rapid eye movement sleep and atonia. Exp Neurol. 2017 Apr;290:53-62. doi: 10.1016/j.expneurol.2017.01.002. Epub 2017 Jan 7. [PMID: 28077261].

Vetrivelan R, Kong D, Ferrari LL, Arrigoni E, Madara JC, Bandaru SS, Lowell BB, Lu J, Saper CB. Melanin-concentrating hormone neurons specifically promote rapid eye movement sleep in mice. Neuroscience. 2016 Nov 12;336:102-113. doi:10.1016/j.neuroscience.2016.08.046. Epub 2016 Sep 3. [PMID: 27595887]

Chouchani ET, Kazak L, Jedrychowski MP, Lu GZ, Erickson BK, Szpyt J, Pierce KA, Laznik-Bogoslavski D, Vetrivelan R, Clish CB, Robinson AJ, Gygi SP, Spiegelman BM. Mitochondrial ROS regulate thermogenic energy expenditure and sulfenylation of UCP1. Nature. 2016 Apr 7;532(7597):112-6. doi: 10.1038/nature17399. Epub 2016 Mar 30. [PMID: 27027295].

Qiu MH, Yao QL, Vetrivelan R, Chen MC, Lu J. Nigrostriatal Dopamine Acting on Globus Pallidus Regulates Sleep. Cereb Cortex. 2016 Apr;26(4):1430-9. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhu241. Epub 2014 Oct 14. [PMID: 25316334

Kazak L, Chouchani ET, Jedrychowski MP, Erickson BK, Shinoda K, Cohen P, Vetrivelan R, Lu GZ, Laznik-Bogoslavski D, Hasenfuss SC, Kajimura S, Gygi SP, Spiegelman BM. A creatine-driven substrate cycle enhances energy expenditure and thermogenesis in beige fat. Cell. 2015 Oct 22;163(3):643-55. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2015.09.035. Epub 2015 Oct 22. [PMID: 26496606].

Vetrivelan R, Saper CB, Fuller PM. Armodafinil-induced wakefulness in animals with ventrolateral preoptic lesions. Nat Sci Sleep. 2014 May 2;6:57-63. doi: 10.2147/NSS.S53132. eCollection 2014. [PMID: 24833927].

Anaclet C, Lin JS, Vetrivelan R, Krenzer M, Vong L, Fuller PM, Lu J. Identification and characterization of a sleep-active cell group in the rostral medullary brainstem. J Neurosci. 2012 Dec 12;32(50):17970-6. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0620-12.2012. [PMID: 23238713].

Vetrivelan R, Fuller PM, Yokota S, Lu J, Saper CB. Metabolic effects of chronic sleep restriction in rats. Sleep. 2012 Nov 1;35(11):1511-20. doi: 10.5665/sleep.2200. [PMID: 23115400].

Krenzer M, Anaclet C, Vetrivelan R, Wang N, Vong L, Lowell BB, Fuller PM, Lu J. Brainstem and spinal cord circuitry regulating REM sleep and muscle atonia. PLoS One. 2011;6(10):e24998. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0024998. Epub 2011 Oct 17. [PMID: 22043278]

Eikermann M, Vetrivelan R, Grosse-Sundrup M, Henry ME, Hoffmann U, Yokota S,  Saper CB, Chamberlin NL. The ventrolateral preoptic nucleus is not required for isoflurane general anesthesia. Brain Res. 2011 Dec 2;1426:30-7. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2011.10.018. Epub 2011 Oct 14. [PMID: 22041226].

Qiu MH, Vetrivelan R, Fuller PM, Lu J. Basal ganglia control of sleep-wake behavior and cortical activation. Eur J Neurosci. 2010 Feb;31(3):499-507. doi: 10.1111/j.1460-9568.2009.07062.x. Epub 2010 Jan 25. [PMID: 20105243]

Vetrivelan R, Fuller PM, Tong Q, Lu J. Medullary circuitry regulating rapid eye movement sleep and motor atonia. J Neurosci. 2009 Jul 22;29(29):9361-9. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0737-09.2009. [PMID: 19625526]

Arrigoni E, Lu J, Vetrivelan R, Saper CB. Long-term synaptic plasticity is impaired in rats with lesions of the ventrolateral preoptic nucleus. Eur J Neurosci. 2009 Dec 3;30(11):2112-20. doi: 10.1111/j.1460-9568.2009.07001.x. Epub 2009 Nov 25. [PMID: 20128848].

Vetrivelan R, Mallick HN, Kumar VM. Tonic activity of alpha1 adrenergic receptors of the medial preoptic area contributes towards increased sleep in rats. Neuroscience. 2006;139(3):1141-51. Epub 2006 Mar 14. [PMID: 16533567].

Vetrivelan R, Mallick HN, Kumar VM. Sleep induction and temperature lowering by medial preoptic alpha(1) adrenergic receptors. Physiol Behav. 2006 Apr 15;87(4):707-13. Epub 2006 Mar 9. [PMID: 16529782].

Vetrivelan R, Mallick HN, Kumar VM. Unmasking of alpha1 adrenoceptor induced hypnogenic response from medial preoptic area. Physiol Behav. 2005 Mar 31;84(4):641-50. [PMID: 15811400].

Vetrivelan R, Mallick HN, Kumar VM. Repeated intracerebral microinjections: efficacy in studying brain functions. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. 2004 Oct;48(4):471-5. [PMID: 15907057].

Vetrivelan R, Mallick HN, Kumar VM. Changes in body temperature and sleep-wakefulness after intrapreoptic injection of methoxamine in rats. Neural Plast. 2003;10(4):267-78. [PMID: 15152981]

Ramalingam V, Chen MC, Saper CB, Lu J. Perspectives on the rapid eye movement
sleep switch in rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder. Sleep Med. 2013
Aug;14(8):707-13. doi: 10.1016/j.sleep.2013.03.017. Epub 2013 Jun 13. Review.
PMID: 23768838.

Vetrivelan R, Chang C, Lu J. Muscle tone regulation during REM sleep: neural  circuitry and clinical significance. Arch Ital Biol. 2011 Dec;149(4):348-66. doi: 10.4449/aib.v149i4.1272. Epub 2011 Dec 1. [PMID: 22205588].

Vetrivelan R, Qiu MH, Chang C, Lu J. Role of Basal Ganglia in sleep-wake  regulation: neural circuitry and clinical significance. Front Neuroanat. 2010 Nov 23;4:145. doi: 10.3389/fnana.2010.00145. eCollection 2010. [PMID: 21151379].

Kumar VM, Vetrivelan R, Mallick HN. Noradrenergic afferents and receptors in the medial preoptic area: neuroanatomical and neurochemical links between the regulation of sleep and body temperature. Neurochem Int. 2007 May;50(6):783-90. Epub 2007 Feb 27. Review. PMID: 17403554.

Kumar VM, Vetrivelan R, Mallick HN. Alpha-1 adrenergic receptors in the medial preoptic area are involved in the induction of sleep. Neurochem Res. 2006 Aug;31(8):1095-102. Epub 2006 Aug 9. [PMID: 16933152].

Book Chapter
Vetrivelan R, Lu J. Neural circuitry regulating REM sleep and its implication in REM sleep behavior disorder. In Rapid Eye Movement Sleep Behavior Disorder. Schenck C; Videnovic A, Högl, B (Ed). In Press

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