IT giant Infosys Ltd’s co-founder and former Co-Chairman S Gopalakrishnan has donated USD 1.8 million (Rs 108 crore to Carnegie Mellon University in the US to promote brain research and education. The new collaboration would leverage research capabilities of CMU and the city based Indian Institute of Science (IISc). It would strategically leverage the research strengths of both institutions while enhancing the connection between CMU and India. A world-renowned research university, CMU has become a leading center for brain research over the past two decades. CMU’s focus in neuroscience has been in computational and cognitive neuroscience, areas that are increasingly critical for linking biological and genetic mechanisms to understanding and discovering new therapeutic interventions of brain disorders. The CBR was launched through a foundational gift from the Pratiksha Trust, a charitable trust established by Mr Gopalakrishnan, and is focused on understanding and treating neuro-degenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. This partnership will provide opportunities for applying new technologies from fields ranging from imaging to machine learning to address critical questions about neuro-degeneration and normal aging, a CMU release said here today.
The goal of the partnership will be to foster two-way interactions in the areas of brain research and education, and in closely related areas such as data sciences and engineering, human behavior and computation.
The gift would be used to support post-doctoral fellowships, encourage interactions between CBR and CMU researchers, and provide strategic seed funding for research that connects CMU researchers with IISc scientists and engineers. CMU President Subra Suresh said one of the most pressing challenges facing humanity was to understand the human brain. Our hope is that this new research collaboration will lead to discoveries about neuro-degenerative diseases that afflict the aging population, and that those findings help improve our diagnostic and treatment capabilities for such diseases, he said. Carnegie Mellon’s Pittsburgh campus is home to more than 1,000 students from India, comprising nearly 10 percent of the entire student population on campus. ‘CMU is a world-renowned leader in many areas of research and education. I am very pleased to support President Subra Suresh’s strategic vision for the collaboration between CMU and IISc through this gift so that we can address one of the grand challenges of our times by understanding the human brain,’ Mr Gopalakrishnan said. Professor Padmanabhan Balaram, Director of the IISc, thanked Mr Gopalakrishnan for his support in creating CBR and for connecting its faculty with CMU through this gift. Mr Gopalakrishnan co-founded Infosys in 1981, leading the company’s ascent to become one of the world’s largest IT service providers.