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IIT-M alumni to fund lab to study Parkinson’s disease

Batch of 1972 donates ₹50 lakh for scholarship as part of its golden jubilee reunion

January 23, 2023 08:13 pm | Updated January 26, 2023 10:08 am IST - CHENNAI

The 1972 batch of the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras has offered to sponsor a lab for research on Parkinson’s disease and other brain disorders at the Institute of Biotechnology’s Laboratory for Computational Neuroscience (CNS lab).

The lab aims to develop a computational model of the basal ganglia (BG), a region in the brain where loss of cells causes Parkinson’s disease (PD). The BG system plays a vital role in all major domains of brain function such as sensory, motor, cognitive, affective and autonomous.

The 1972 batch, as part of its golden jubilee reunion, has donated ₹50 lakh for merit-cum-means scholarships at the institute.

The CNS lab is developing system-level models of various crucial brain systems. Its ultimate goal is to create a whole brain model and use it to develop model-base therapeutics for Parkinson’s disease along with other brain disorders.

Besides research on BG, Parkinson’s disease and model-based clinical applications for the disease, the lab is working on drugs such as Ldopa for the condition; deep brain stimulation and quantitative diagnostic system for PD.

Batch coordinator K.K. Raman said: “As many as 146 alumni and spouses attended the reunion. Going by the dictum “Government meets needs, alumni meet aspirations of IIT-M”, the class of 1972 supports the Parkinson’s Therapeutics Lab at the institute for futuristic research to contribute to Indian research capabilities.”

V. Srinivasa Chakravarthy, faculty in the biotechnology department and head of the lab, who will manage the project, said though researchers have proposed different computational models for different functions of the BG, there is no consensus among the models. The CNS lab, on the other hand, departed from the classic, textbook description of the functional anatomy of BG, was able to model a wide range of motor function and some cognitive functions of BG.

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