Prabarna Ganguly


Northeastern University

We know that a mother-child relationship is perhaps the most important bond any human being ever experiences. It is one filled with nurture, care, and attention. However, since time immemorial, such caregiving has been taken away from thousands of children, be it in the name of war or politics. Many children end up in institutionalized care, such as orphanages, and never find loving foster homes. A large number of them suffer from depression, PTSD, and substance abuse disorders.

In a personal quest, I am trying to understand how separating children from their mothers can derail a child’s behavioral and neurological development. I am curious to know- what happens to the way neurons communicate with each other? Where in the brain do these changes occur? What are the behavioral outcomes? Can we affect the brain in non-invasive ways to make such adverse life events less devastating? Using various biological and psychological research tools, I hope we can answer some of these questions, in small, but perhaps valuable, ways.

Prabarna has contributed to 1 report

Massive Science Report № 2

Opening Our Minds

Join five scientists as they explain the research behind new psychedelic treatments for mental illnesses

Prabarna has authored 8 articles

Two behavioral neuroscientists discuss the long-term damage of family separation

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The neurological and behavioral consequences of separating children from parents, especially mothers, can persist into adulthood

Why scientists are taking a more active role in politics and policy

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Cognitive neuroscientist Timothy Verstynen thinks scientists need to take visible stances on issues like forced family separation

Are psychedelics actually as dangerous as their Schedule I status suggests?

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They're tightly regulated, but research shows they're probably not harmful

To better target cancer, scientists find clues on the surface of cells

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New research finds that we might need to take a step back from the inside of cells

Empathy and bias are more intertwined than we often think

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Studying empathy can sometimes seem like a look at how self-involved we are

Meet the barrier-breaking physicist hunting gravity with lasers

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Nergis Mavalvala explores gravitational waves and quantum physics