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IIT Madras inaugurates centre to map human brains at cellular levels

IIT Madras inaugurates centre to map human brains at cellular levels

The new centre aims to become a leading global centre for human brain research with transformative impact in the fields of science and medicine.

The centre was inaugurated in the presence of Prof. K. VijayRaghavan, Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India. The centre was inaugurated in the presence of Prof. K. VijayRaghavan, Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India.

To power an ambitious global project to map the human brain at cellular and connectivity levels, with focus on high-resolution brain imaging, Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras) has launched Sudha Gopalakrishnan Brain Centre.  

The new centre aims to become a leading global centre for human brain research with transformative impact in the fields of science and medicine. IIT Madras also plans to train hundreds of undergraduate and postgraduate students at the centre in neuroscience and computing, machine learning techniques on cutting-edge brain data.

The centre was inaugurated in the presence of Prof. K. VijayRaghavan, Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India, Prof. V. Kamakoti, Director at IIT Madras, along with IIT Madras alumni Kris Gopalakrishnan, Sudha Gopalakrishnan, and Prof. Mohanasankar Sivaprakasam of IIT Madras, who will be heading the centre. 

"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, i.e. on the functioning of human brain. We are at an earlier stage in our understanding of the human brain functioning. The IIT Madras brain centre will help in solving complex issues that will benefit the world," Prof. VijayRaghavan said at the inauguration.

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The first ongoing project of the centre, 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 Office of Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India. 

Through the 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. The centre has already acquired whole brain serial-section cell-resolution volumes of three developing brains to date. These unique first-in-class data sets that provide a high-resolution view of developing brains will be released in the near future.

IIT Madras' clinical partners for the project include CMC Vellore, led by Dr. George Varghese; National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS), led by Dr. Anita Mahadevan; and Saveetha Medical College and Hospital, led by Dr. J. Kumutha. 

In addition, IIT Madras has a strong and deep international collaboration network of global leaders in brain mapping efforts in the US, EU and Japan. The centre has six internationally renowned faculty as visiting professors at IIT Madras.

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