Kris Gopalakrishnan, executive vice-chairman and co-founder of Infosys (NYSE:INFY), one of India’s largest technology companies, will give 2.25 billion rupees ($36 million) to the Indian Institute of Science, or IISc, to set up a center to study the human brain and neurological disorders, in Bangalore, the capital city of the Indian state of Karnataka.
IISc will receive the money from the Pratiksha Trust, a charitable organization that Gopalakrishnan jointly set up with his wife, Sudha Gopalakrishnan, to fund education, research and entrepreneurship, media reports said, adding that the amount is one of the largest donations the institute has ever received from a single source. As part of the arrangement, the trust will donate the funds to the IISc over a period of 10 years.
“Human brain is one of the nature's biggest mysteries, which is yet to be understood by man. By funding the centre, we are creating a globally recognized, world-class facility for cutting-edge research on the brain,” local media quoted Gopalakrishnan as saying. “Among its goals are to understand the relative functions of the brain and leverage it to create better computing models.”
According to reports, the research center will be guided by an international scientific advisory board, chaired by Swedish neurophysiologist and Nobel laureate Torsten Wiesel. The members of the advisory board include Stanley Fahn of Columbia University, Sangram Sisodia of the University of Chicago, John Morris of Washington University and Giovanni Frisoni of the University of Geneva.
“We'll study how a normal brain ages and what factors lead to neurodegenerative conditions and diseases like dementia which are accelerated by old age,” Vijayalakshmi Ravindranath, chairperson of the Centre for Neuroscience at IISc, said in a statement. “We'll work on whether it's possible to have an early diagnosis, better quality of life for those diagnosed with the problem and ensure treatment.”
The brain research center, with its focus on clinical research, will function independently of the IISc, and is expected to employ about 50 to 75 faculty members and post-doctoral students, as well as host visiting faculty.
In addition to the research center, the trust will also fund three professorships each in the IISc's computer science department and the Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai, to bring together research in the fields of medical research and computing.