Dr. Varadarajan was born and raised in South India and received her Bachelor of Engineering in Biotechnology from Visvesvaraya Technological University. She obtained her PhD from the University of California Los Angeles, where she studied molecular mechanisms that regulate axon growth. In Dr. Samantha Butler’s lab, Supraja redefined the role of the prototypical axon guidance cue, netrin1, in the developing spinal cord. Following her graduate work, Supraja joined Dr. Andrew Huberman’s lab at Stanford University to apply developmental mechanisms to promote the regeneration of visual circuits. In her postdoctoral work, Supraja combined a novel injury model and modulation of neural activity to show that postsynaptic retinorecipient neurons play a crucial role in promoting retinal axon regeneration. 

Dr. Varadarajan joined the Department of Neuroscience, Peter O'Donnell Jr. Brain Institute, and the Department of Ophthalmology in 2024. The Varadarajan lab will investigate the role of postsynaptic neurons in neural circuit regeneration with the long-term goal of rebuilding injured and diseased neural circuits and restoring vision. Current projects in the lab will investigate three areas: 1) molecular mechanisms underlying activity-induced repair, 2) activity-induced changes in neuron-glia interactions, and 3) mechanisms that prevent degeneration in glaucoma.


Graduate School
Uni of California (UCLA) (2017), Neuroscience

Research Interest

  • Axon guidance
  • Axon regeneration
  • CNS reconnectivity
  • Glaucoma
  • Neural repair
  • Visual circuits


Featured Publications LegendFeatured Publications

Characterization of non-alpha retinal ganglion cell injury responses reveals a possible block to restoring ipRGC function.
Hunyara JL, Foshe S, Varadarajan SG, Gribble KD, Huberman AD, Kolodkin AL, Exp Neurol 2022 Nov 357 114176
Dorsal commissural axon guidance in the developing spinal cord.
Alvarez S, Varadarajan SG, Butler SJ, Curr Top Dev Biol 2021 142 197-231
Assembly and repair of eye-to-brain connections.
Varadarajan SG, Huberman AD, Curr Opin Neurobiol 2018 Dec 53 198-209
Uniformity from Diversity: Vast-Range Light Sensing in a Single Neuron Type.
Varadarajan SG, Huberman AD, Cell 2017 Nov 171 4 738-740
Netrin1 establishes multiple boundaries for axon growth in the developing spinal cord.
Varadarajan SG, Butler SJ, Dev Biol 2017 Oct 430 1 177-187
Netrin1 Produced by Neural Progenitors, Not Floor Plate Cells, Is Required for Axon Guidance in the Spinal Cord.
Varadarajan SG, Kong JH, Phan KD, Kao TJ, Panaitof SC, Cardin J, Eltzschig H, Kania A, Novitch BG, Butler SJ, Neuron 2017 May 94 4 790-799.e3
Type Ib BMP receptors mediate the rate of commissural axon extension through inhibition of cofilin activity.
Yamauchi K, Varadarajan SG, Li JE, Butler SJ, Development 2013 Jan 140 2 333-42

Honors & Awards

  • The Grass Foundation Achievement Award
  • Leading Edge Fellow
  • Knight's Templar Eye Foundation Career Starter Grant
  • Samuel Eiduson Student Lecture Award