The mind is an interesting subject to study on, with its intricate, complicated nuances making people act the way they do. Ajay Satpute thought along these same lines, which made him try his hand in many fields – such as psychology and religion – before finally settling on neuroscience. After completing his graduation and post-doctoral from the University of California and Columbia University respectively, he finally joined Northeastern University. As a senior research scientist, he came in contact with Lisa Feldman Barrett in the Interdisciplinary Affective Science Lab, working with her for more than two years.
Now after his three-years working stint, he’s back again, more enthusiastic than ever. Being the social neuroscientist that he is, Satpute research is invested in the emotional reactions of any individual and the people around him or her. This, he believes, can be understood by the study of the brain. He is currently focusing more on the subjective experience, its connection to neural activity and how neuroimaging can help understand these experiences’ origin.
Satpute seems to be pinpointing the study of brain region connectivity for anxiety. There is more connectivity between some certain parts of the brain during high anxiety, as opposed to low anxiety. “That raised questions for me,” he said. “How can we say there are only seven-ish networks when these brain regions actually change connectivity depending on the state they’re in?”
How did Satpute come across this moment of discovery? Weirdly, in a “miniature ah-ha moment” he had “in that weird conscious state between sleep and wakefulness.” This moment led to a monumental discovery, thanks to his revolutionary ideas.
Whenever he is not in his lab, conducting experiments on neuroimaging and behavioural studies, Satpute will be found indulging in his long-time-passion for directing. He claims it to be another perspective that sheds light on human emotions. “I loved trying to see how to get people to feel things and produce genuine emotion and feeling on stage—trying to unlock things in people, getting them to different states,” Satpute said.