Dr. V. Srinivasa Chakravarthy, Department of Biotechnology, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras, visted Computational Neuroscience Laboratory, Amrita School of Boitechnology, from July 20-22, 2017, and delivered talks on Basal Ganglia and Bharati - a common script for Indian languages.

His talk titled, "The Basal Ganglia as an Exploration Engine", addressed the computational principles of a prominent subcortical brain structure called basal ganglia and how it determines movement related functions. He addressed the direct and indirect pathways and used a model he had developed to explain the role of basal ganglia on Go/No-Go/Explore possibilities selection by brain circuit. He introduced the reward signal in such circuits to be elicited by beautiful faces, image of lovers and momentary rewards.

Showcasing the circuit properties arising from constituent neurons, he suggested that the loss of neural dynamics complexity could be a sign of poor mental health. Raising a case study on Parkinson's Disease (PD), he also highlighted the basal ganglia role in PD and willed movement. Prof. Chakravarthy also highlighted the need to build gadgets tools to models, patient specific computational models and to match function to all levels sensory integration hierarchy, which he called the mesoscopic brain model.

Dr. Chakravarthy also addressed the Amritapuri campus on Bharati, a new script for unifying all Indian languages, that he has developed. He spoke of the commonness in languages and the need to help those who do not know a language, by using a common script for 22 languages. He showed that Bharati script could help bring down many communication barriers in India and save ink compared to some other Indian fonts when printing on boards. His presentation involved his case studies with school students in Andhra Pradesh and Chennai.

Prof. Chakravarthy and Amrita School of Biotechnology's Dr. Shyam Diwakar, Lab Director of Computational Neuroscience and Neurophysiology Laboratory, a Faculty fellow at the Amrita Center for International Programs and an Associate Professor at the School of Biotechnology, modeled large scale brain circuits for neurological disorders, predictions of physiological circuits and did case studies on bio-robotics.

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