India has taken a big step forward in brain mapping with the inauguration of the Sudha Gopalakrishnan Brain Center at IIT Madras on Saturday. The center will focus on high-resolution imaging of the whole human brain at the ‘cellular and connectivity level’.
K VijayRaghavan, chief scientific adviser to the Indian government, who inaugurated the center, said that globally there are many projects studying the brain with different approaches; millions of dollars are spent studying the brain in different ways. But this center of IIT Madras is the only one of its kind; people around the world will try to replicate this project and use the center’s data, he said. The PSA office supported the center with seed funding, he told reporters.
Data analysis and medicine
This project aims to understand the anatomy of the brain, allowing researchers to find new applications and come up with better drugs and interventions, he said. For example, there may be very thin one-micron sections of the brain. How can these items be reviewed? Examining brain structure, collecting data of up to petabytes, analyzing different brains, and studying brain development are some of the activities the center will perform.
“The combination of IIT Madras, which has expertise in science and data analysis, with medicine is going to be revolutionary. In the future, we have an extraordinary problem in neuroscience – the functioning of the human brain. We are at an early stage in our understanding and the IIT Madras Brain Center will help solve complex problems that will benefit the world,” said VijayRaghavan.
IIT Madras plans to train hundreds of undergraduate and postgraduate students in neuroscience, computer science, and machine learning techniques on state-of-the-art brain data.
The center will fuel a large-scale, multidisciplinary effort to map human brains at the cellular level. He is supported by Infosys co-founder and distinguished alumnus of IIT Madras Kris Gopalakrishnan and his wife Sudha Gopalakrishnan. Since 2014, Gopalakrishnan has been involved in seed research at the institute at the intersection of neuroscience and engineering.
Kris Gopalakrishnan, Sudha Gopalakrishnan and K VijayRaghavan at the inauguration of the Sudha Gopalakrishnan Brain Center
The center aims to become a world-renowned research hub, generating “unprecedented” amounts of human brain data, scientific output and technological tools. She has developed a high-throughput “histological” pipeline that transforms whole brains into high-resolution digital atlases. Using this technology platform, the center makes post-mortem images of whole human brains of different types and ages, a statement said.
The center will work with India’s leading medical institutions and world leaders in brain mapping to become a world-renowned neuroanatomy research enterprise that generates sought-after human brain data and technology tools, the statement said.
Gopalakrishnan said after leaving Infosys in 2014, he decided to do two things: support entrepreneurs and scientists. Entrepreneurs create the next generation of businesses, industries and businesses; improving economic activity; and create wealth and jobs. They will create a new India. Scientists and engineers are a key part of creating a $5 trillion economy and then a $10 trillion economy because that’s where knowledge is created, new intellectual property is created , and that’s where it fuels the knowledge economy.
“I firmly believe that we can compete with the best in the world. We need to support research and entrepreneurship,” he said.
V Kamakoti, Director of IIT Madras, said the brain research center is a great case study that proves that technology can help medicine and solve societal problems. The center will make considerable progress in collecting data for brain research.
March 19, 2022