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Research

The Amrita Mind Brain Center is an independent center of Amrita with strong connections to the School of Engineering, Medicine and Biotechnology. Established in January 2021 with faculty members collaborating from various units of the University, our research focus is the study of the neural mechanisms of brain functions using neurophysiological and computational techniques. At the center, theoreticians, experimenters and clinicians combine experimental techniques for measuring neural activity with computational modeling to understand, at the most fundamental, algorithmic level, how the brain processes information about the world to generate perception, knowledge, memory, decision, and action. Our research also involves the development and analysis of computational models in order to study synaptic plasticity, associative memory and information processing in the cerebellum and inter-related circuits. The center is developing novel low-cost devices,exploring the neuroscience of yoga, music and meditation techniques besides development of tools and pedagogical techniques for enhancing bioscience laboratory education.

Completed Ph. D.

Computational Neuroscience of Neurons and Circuits, EEG, Mathematical Modeling and Applied Robotics

Our research involves the development and analysis of computational models in order to study synaptic plasticity, associative memory and information processing in the cerebellum and inter-related circuits. Other work at the lab is on bio-robotics and neuromorphic hardware, neuroscience of yoga and Indian relaxation techniqies besides development of tools and pedagogical techniques for enhancing bioscience laboratory education.

Projects

Neural and Circuit Biophysics: Computational Neuroscience of cerebellum and inter-connected circuits

The computational neuroscience research at the center is mainly focusing on the neuronal dynamics and behaviors of cerebellum and associated circuits.

Computational Neuroscience and Cognitive Modeling

As ongoing efforts with clinicians, bioinformaticians and engineers, we study cognition, memory, and action.

Neurology: Epilepsy, Spatial Events and Models

With our School of Medicine, Dr. Anand Kumar, Dr. Siby Gopinath and Dr. HarilalParasuram, we are exploring the possibility to understand how brains process spatial and temporal events and how neurology patients can helped through better tools.

Psychiatry and Disorders

Most neuropsychiatric disorders are now regarded as network disorders. This is in contrast to earlier lesion based or neurotransmitter based theories of etiology.

AI and Context

In this EU based project, WeNet: The Internet of Us, we are looking at developing an  online platform that will empower machine mediated diversity-aware people interactions. WeNet project is funded by the EU’s Horizon2020 programme under Grant Agreement number 823783

Cerebellum Inspired Approach for Pattern Classification in Robots

This research project started off as an Indo-Italy collaboration with University of Milan, University of Pavia in Italy and aims to develop a cerebellum inspired pattern recognition algorithm for robotic data classification.

Modeling fMRI BOLD Correlates of Neural Circuit Activity

Blood Oxygen Level Dependent (BOLD) signals are the responses of functional magnetic resonance imaging techniques used to understand brain state and function in neurology.

Human Gait Analysis and Low-Cost Devices for Gait

We develop and use low-cost accelerometers to record gait related movement signals during walkingand use the same to classify and differentiating the gait phases.

Systems Biology of Neurological Disorders

Modelling of biochemical networks such as signal transduction and gene regulatory circuits are main components of modern systems biology. In the case of experimentally immeasurable biological processes, a mathematical model can be used to observe and analyze the behavior of a particular variable.

Underpinning Neural Activity for Yoga and Meditation Techniques

Unveiling brain oscillatory patterns and characterizing unique EEG signatures in functional integration of mind-body practices (Yoga/Meditation) are of primary importance in social neuroscience perspectives.

Cortical Activations among Musicians and Non-Musicians for Indian Raga

Music influences day-to-day life relating to stress reduction, improving cognitive functions and emotional processes. With an objective to decipher functional neural circuitry basis underlying music perception and response related to different auditory cues and to compare neural oscillatory patterns of music perception among trained and amateur subjects, we are also exploring the effects of ragas from Indian Carnatic music.

Virtual Laboratory Development – India’s National Mission on Education Through ICT

As a National Mission project funded by Ministry of Education, Amrita University has been developing free and open source virtual laboratories readily available over the internet for higher education.

FOSS Software And Platform Technology

We develop open source web-based and related data science platforms for EEG analysis, neuronal modeling and data science applications.

[MHRD] Virtual Labs Phase II

Sakshat Virtual Labs project has initiated a second phase funded by MHRD. Amrita (integration with IIITH coordinated by Dr. Shyam Diwakar) will look into setting up the existing virtual labs and some new content onto a Open-source platform allowing Akash-like mobile device to access the simulation and animation oriented virtual labs. This project is funded by Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India and is in partnership with IIT Delhi, IIT Bombay, IIT Kanpur, IIT Kharagpur, IIT Guwahati, IIT Rourkee, IIT Madras, Dayabagh University, IIIT Hyderabad, NIT Karnataka, COE Pune. (Status – Ongoing)

[DST] Cognitive Science Research Initiative projects

Designing a BMI-based robotic arm using EEG and motor articulation control

At the Mind Brain Center, we also use EEG activity to study the cortical process associated with execution of movements has been explored widely. To date, uncovering neural network dynamics associated with the execution or imagination of different movements has a substantial influence in boosting functional connectivity measures in the brain involved in the processing of motor movement.

Modelling the cerebellar information code in large-scale realistic circuits – Towards pharmacological predictions and robotic abstractions

To understand neural circuit computations a different approach is needed: elaborate realistic spiking neural networks of the rat cerebellum and use them, together with the theoretical basis of central network computation.

Neurophysiological Recording and Modeling Fast-response Timing of Granule and Golgi Cell Responses for Cerebellar Function

The center has a facility to study neural signals from brain slices and using electrophysiology equipment, we investigate how neurons and synapses process time-dependent signals in animal models. The project was completed on 31st March 2015. (Status – Completed)

Bio-inspired Processor Design for Cognitive Functions via Detailed Computational Modeling of Cerebellar Granular Layer

One of our aims is at understanding cognitive functioning of cerebellar circuit function and implement signal processing abilities into neural hardware using cerebellar architecture. The project was completed on 31 Dec 2014.  (Status – Completed)

[DST-MAE]Indo-Italy POC 2012-2014

This project proposed to develop a cerebellum inspired pattern recognition algorithm for robotic data classification. The proposal was to exploit biophysical neural network models to the problem of pattern recognition and navigation in mobile robots to achieve practical algorithms for specific applications like surgery or disaster mitigation. The project used biological basis for design and function of a deep learning pattern classifier for motor articulation tasks. This was a joint project proposal for Exchange of Researchers within the frame of the Executive Programme of Scientific and Technological Cooperation between the Republic of India and the Italian Republic for the years 2012 – 2014 was selected. Visits were made by researchers from Italy and PhD students from the lab visited Italy as part of this proposal. The project was completed on 31 July 2015. (Status – Completed)

[DBT]Computational Modelling and Prediction of Cerebellar Input Layer function, Timing and Plasticity for Understanding Neurophysiological Disorders

Investigating the organized activity of neuron ensembles is critical to understand how brain circuits work and is one main target of the project. Reconstruction of network activity has proved to be a hard task. This project will study cellular function using multi-scale models of single cells and networks will be developed with NEURON. The project was completed on 31 March 2015. (Status – Completed)

[Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham] Neuroscience of Yoga and Meditation

Inspired by our Chancellor Amma’s guidance, several practitioners see personal benefits to regular practices including yoga and meditation for stress relief. We wanted to look into behavioural adaptation and “wellness” behind practitioners and non-practitioners. As an effort to understand causality and functional connectivity changes induced by holistic stress relieving techniques related to Amrita Yoga and Meditation methods, we have commenced experimental studies and models based on surface EEG signals on yoga and meditation practitioners and non-practitioners. Specifically, we look into neural mechanisms underlying mediation reporting changes in spectral band frequencies during meditation that focus on concentration assessing pre and post behavioural modifications related to short term changes. Initiated in late 2016, this project is supported by Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham and Embracing The World. (Status – Ongoing)

[MHRD]Sakshat Amrita Virtual Labs

In partnership with the Government of India’s Sakshat initiative of the Ministry of Human Resource Development, these Amrita Virtual Labs, focus on helping students retain the real feel of a laboratory, while conducting the experiment from an internet-enabled computer terminal, much in the same way he or she would, in a real lab. Over 320 online labs have been developed and are available freely from here.

Amrita University jointly participates with IIT Delhi, IIT Kanpur, IIT Bombay, IIT Madras, IIT Kharagpur, IIT Guwahati, IIT Roorkee, IIIT Hyderabad and Dayalbagh University. (Status – Completed)

[MHRD]QEEE Amrita Physics Lab

As part of the Quality Enhancement in Engineering Education (QEEE) program coordinated by Prof. Ashok Jhunjhunwala, Amrita Virtual Labs team (Coordinated by Dr. Shyam Diwakar) will use the Physics Virtual Labs to offer a new lab course to 40 colleges in India via the QEEE portal. The lab topic selected is oh Physics and will target undergraduate Physics students. (Status – Completed)

[NVIDIA]NVIDIA CUDA Teaching Center 2012-2014

A extension of the teaching center grant has been awarded by NVIDIA for promoting the use of CUDA GPGPUs in teaching and research. (Status – Completed)

[IC-IMPACTS and DBT]An innovative green technology for treating municipal and industrial wastewater entering rivers and streams

A minor role as one of the co-PIs through a data mining role in this DBT Indo-Canada project. This research project seeks to bring together biomass based biochars and hydrochars from rice husk waste product to remove heavy metals and other contaminants from industrial and domestic wastewater that makes its way untreated or only partially treated into rivers and streams. (Status – Ongoing)

[DST-JSPS]Indo-Japan POC 2013-2015

A joint project proposal for Exchange of Researchers has been awarded to Amrita team including us (as co-PI) and University of Tokyo. PI of this project are Dr. Maneesha Ramesh of Amrita Center for Wireless Networks & Applications, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, India and Prof. Masahiro Fujita of University of Tokyo, Japan. (Status – Completed)

[NVIDIA]NVIDIA GPU Research Center and GPU Teaching Center 2015-2017

A extension of the teaching center grant has been awarded by NVIDIA for promoting the use of CUDA GPGPUs in teaching and research. (Status – Completed)

Code

Software code and online material from papers and research topics within the lab.

LFPsim – A toolkit for modeling LFPs from detailed multicompartmental neurons and circuits implemented in NEURON enviornment.

LFPsim on ModelDB/GitHub

Reference: Modeling single neuron LFPs and extracellular potentials with LFPsim. Reference: Parasuram H, Nair B, D‘Angelo E, Hines M, Naldi G and Diwakar S (2016). Computational Modeling of Single Neuron Extracellular Electric Potentials and Network Local Field Potentials using LFPsim. Front. Comput. Neurosci. 10:65. doi: 10.3389/fncom.2016.00065

ReConv Algorithm – Jittered Repetitive convolution algorithm for generating evoked LFP in cerebellar granular layer

ReConv Algorithm to generate evoked LFP in cerebellar granular layer.

Reference: Diwakar S, Lombardo P, Solinas S, Naldi G, D’Angelo E (2011) Local Field Potential Modeling Predicts Dense Activation in Cerebellar Granule Cells Clusters under LTP and LTD Control. PLoS ONE 6(7): e21928. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0021928 [PLoS One]

Cerebellar Granule neuron model (Published from UNIPV) – Modeldb

detailed multicompartmental model was used to study neuronal electroresponsiveness of cerebellar granule cells in rats. For details check article.

Reference: Diwakar S, Magistretti J, Goldfarb M, Naldi G, D`Angelo E (2009) Axonal Na+ channels ensure fast spike activation and back-propagation in cerebellar granule cells J Neurophysiol 101(2):519-32 [PubMed]

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