The restrictions of disability haven’t deterred P. Gnanakkumaar from his single-minded focus on research, finds K. Manikandan

A 25-year-old differently abled youth is a recipient of a fellowship to pursue his Ph. D. on identification and early detection of indicators of Parkinson’s Disease and multiple sclerosis. P. Gnanakkumaar, crippled below waist since birth, not once lost focus on bio-chemistry, a subject close to his heart since childhood. After graduation and post-graduation in the subject from Vivekananda College, Mylapore and University of Madras, he applied for a programme at the Faculty of Allied Health Sciences at Chettinad Academy of Research and Education (Chettinad University) in Kelambakkam.

Hailing from Tirunelveli district, Mr. Gnanakkumaar has done his basic and higher education in Chennai and is the son of K. Perumal, a pensioner and Sitalakshmi, a government employee. It was his total dedication and deep interest in bio-chemistry that brought the youth this far. “I wanted to contribute something useful to society through my pet subject and that is why I started focusing on the early detection of indicators to Parkinson’s Disease and multiple sclerosis,” he said.

“Neurological disorders are a major health problem in the world, Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis is on the rise over the past 20 years,” he said. His attempt is to arrive at identifying bio marker indicators for the early detection of the two diseases. 

The Ministry of Human Resource Development, through the University Grants Commission, selected Mr. Gnanakkumaar and 199 others from all over India this year for its Rajiv Gandhi National Fellowship for Students with Disabilities, said R. Murugesan, Director of Faculty of Allied Health Sciences.

He will receive a monthly sum of Rs. 16,000 for the first two years; the sum will be hiked to Rs. 18,000 later.

Further, scholars like him would also receive a consolidated contingency fund to help them purchase, books and material needed for their laboratory research.

“I am extremely proud and happy and thank my parents and colleagues for their support,” Mr. Gnanakkumaar said.

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