Sharmila Venugopal, Ph.D.

Principal Investigator

Assistant Adjunct Professor
Integrative Biology and Physiology
Life Sciences Core Education


Ph.D. in Neuroscience (2008)
The Ohio State University, USA

Master of Science in Electrical Engineering (2004)
The Ohio State University, USA

Bachelor’s in Engineering (1999)
Bangalore University, India

Leadership Roles

Organization for Computational Neuroscience (2017-2020)
Education and Training Chair and Board Member

International Neuroinformatics Coordinating Facility (2020 – Date)
Deputy Chair, Standards and Best Practices Committee
Member, Council for Training, Sciences & Infrastructure


Dr. Venugopal is an Electrical Engineer and Neuroscientist. She was born and raised in Bengaluru, India where she completed her Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering. Her first taste of research was as an undergraduate when she conducted a year-long project at the Indian Institute of Science. Following completion of her degree, she worked as a Software Engineer at Cognizant Technology Solutions for two years. Her penchant for further studies led her to The Ohio State University where she obtained her Masters degree in Electrical Engineering. It is here that she also made a key career transition to Neuroscience when she began seeing the value of interdisciplinary research. She obtained her Ph.D. degree in Neuroscience under the co-mentorship of Dr. Joseph Travers and Dr. David Terman . She pursued her postdoctoral work with Dr. Ranu Jung in the Center for Adaptive Neural Systems at Arizona State University and Dr. Scott Chandler at UCLA. Following this, she spent a year as an Assistant Researcher in Dr. Baljit Khakh’s lab at UCLA. Through these diverse experiences, she values multidisciplinary training, collegiality, mentorship and collaboration.

She joined the UCLA Life Sciences division as a faculty member in 2015. She spearheaded the creation of Neural Dynamics Group, where trainees cultivate collaborative research skills in both experimental and computational Neuroscience. Besides work, her passion lies in learning about food from around the world, singing classical Indian music and travelling with family. She believes that diversity is the language of life (cells to organisms to communities), one must treat others like how they want to be treated, and never to be disgraced for who you are!