IIT Madras launches brain centre to aid project mapping human brains at cellular level

05:46 PM Mar 19, 2022 | PTI |

New Delhi: A state-of-the-art brain centre that will work on mapping the human brain at cellular and connectivity levels, with a focus on high-resolution brain imaging, was launched by the Indian Institute of Technology Madras on Saturday.


The centre, named after Sudha Gopalakrishnan, wife of Infosys co-founder and IIT Madras alumnus Kris Gopalakrishnan, aims to become a world-renowned research centre, generating unprecedented human brain data, scientific output and technology tools, officials said. According to them, the institute plans to train its undergraduate and postgraduate students in neuroscience and computing, and machine learning techniques on brain data.

“The combination of IIT Madras, which has the expertise in science and data analysis, with medicine, is going to be revolutionary. Going forward, we have an extraordinary problem in neuroscience–on the functioning of the human brain. We are at an earlier stage in our understanding of the human brain’s functioning. The IIT Madras brain centre will help in solving complex issues that will benefit the world,” K Vijay Raghavan, Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India, said.

The centre’s first ongoing project titled ‘Computational and Experimental Platform for High-Resolution Terapixel Imaging of ex-vivo Human Brains’ for high-throughput light microscopic imaging of whole human brains is supported by the central government. Through this project, the centre has developed a high-throughput histology pipeline that processes whole human brains into high-resolution digital images.

Using this technology platform, the centre is imaging post-mortem human brains of different types and ages. “Entrepreneurship and development in science and technology are important for the nation’s growth. While there have been great strides in supporting entrepreneurship, there is a need for more support to foster world-class research in India. Scientists and engineers play an important role in feeding the knowledge economy of the country, which has the right talent, resource and opportunity in leading some areas globally,” Kris Gopalakrishnan said.


Mohanasankar Sivaprakasam, professor at the Department of Electrical Engineering, IIT Madras and head of Sudha Gopalakrishnan Brain Centre, explained that the technology platform developed by the institute and its strong medical collaborations, is allowing the generation of high-resolution large-format histology sections of human brains that will advance the field significantly.

The clinical partners for this project are Christian Medical College Vellore, National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS) and Saveetha Medical College and Hospital. “3D digital neuroanatomy of the post-mortem human brain with the cellular resolution is a field with great potential for scientific discovery and also for the understanding of neurological disorders. The unique data sets being generated here promise to be widely impactful through open sharing with an international research community,” said Partha Mitra, professor, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, and distinguished visiting chair professor, IIT Madras.


Udayavani is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel and stay updated with the latest news.