During the awards presentation function held on the 31st January 2012 at J N Tata Auditorium Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, Karnataka State Council for Science and Technology (KSCST) presented the Karnataka State Awards for Scientists and Engineers for the year 2010. Dr Shankaranarayana Rao was one of the awardee for the Sir C. V. Raman Young Scientist Award.
Today a special department meeting was held to honour Mr Kemparama, who has the distinction of being the first person to achieve superannuation in the department of Neurophysiology after having served it with love, dedication and commitment for 29 years.
Faculty, staff and students all came forward to share their experiences with this fine gentleman who has been a model of high character and conduct, an exemplar on work ethic and so the accolades showered were numerous, backed by anecdotes of special moments with him. His family also joined us for this special occasion and a group photo was taken to commemorate this occasion.
NPhy acknowledges the generous contributions from several of our Alumni - Dr. Yoga Narasimha, Dr. Narender Dhingra, Dr. Yogendra Raol, Dr. Bindu Mohan, Dr. Rekha, Dr. Mansoor Khan, Dr. Ravindra, Dr. Basavaraj, Dr. Dayalan, Dr. Deepti Nair, Dr. Preeti Hegde and Dr. Sankaranarayani. The contributions pooled from Faculty, Staff, Students and Alumni were pooled together as a gift for Mr. Kemparama.
Mr. Kemparama has set the foundation of the department strong and has earned the rich tributes. The department is proud of him and wishes him good health and happiness in his journey ahead.
Vijaya Kumar (1st year MPhil scholar) presented his seminar on "Hypothalamic regulation of visceral and brain functions".
After a quick historical overview, he detailed out the pivotal role of the hypothalamus in achieving homeostasis in 5 key areas:
He went over the anatomy of the various hypothalamic nuclei and their afferents and efferents. He went on to explain with great detail and specificity the mechanisms by which the hypothalamus earns its name as the central autonomic player.
A query was posed regarding the physiological changes during dehydration and the response mechanisms. This was answered with considerable detail.
A comprehensive seminar that was well articulated with depth and confidence and was much appreciated by the audience.
Debasish Majumder (2nd year MPhil Scholar) presented a paper by Michael Lukas and Inga D. Neumann in Neuropharmacology 62 (2012) entitled "Nasal application of neuropeptide S reduces anxiety and prolongs memory in rats: Social versus non-social effects".
Recent studies demonstrated potent behavioral effects of centrally applied neuropeptide S (NPS) in mice and rats. These include increased arousal and wakefulness, facilitation of fear extinction and object memory consolidation and anxiolysis. Here, we compared the effects of NPS on both social and nonsocial memory, in male rats, and on social preference/social anxiety versus non-social anxiety after either intracerebroventricular (icv) or nasal application. Intranasal application of neuropeptides has been successfully employed to alter behavioral parameters in humans and rodents, but studies concerning nasal application of NPS are lacking so far.
First, we confirmed the facilitatory effect of icv NPS (1 nmol) on object discrimination after an inter-exposure interval (IEI) of 240 min. These effects were context dependent, as icv NPS (1 nmol) did not prolong social memory in a social discrimination paradigm.
Second, we confirmed the anxiolytic effect of icv NPS (1 nmol) on the elevated plus-maze, whereas neither icv NPS (1 nmol) nor NPS receptor antagonist (10 nmol) altered social preference/social avoidance behavior. Third, nasal NPS (4e40 nmol applied topically on the rhinarium) facilitated object discrimination in a dose-dependent manner. Also, the anxiolytic effect of NPS on the elevated plus-maze could be confirmed after nasal administration (40 nmol). In contrast, identical doses of subcutaneously injected NPS failed to produce corresponding behavioral effects in both tests.
Our findings provide evidence for memory-enhancing and anxiolytic effects of icv NPS in a non-social context. We could further show that these effects are context-specific, as social memory and social preference behavior remained unchanged after icv NPS. The effects of icv NPS were replicated by nasal application of the neuropeptide. Thus, nasal application of NPS seems to be a useful method in rodents for screening for behavioral or physiological effects before more specific and time-consuming, intracerebral methods are employed, and may represent a viable therapeutic approach for NPS treatment ofpatients with psychiatric illnesses such as anxiety or panic disorders.
The 16th Convocation of NIMHANS was held today. Hon'ble Vice President of India Mr. M Hamid Ansari was the chief guest. The President and Chancellor of NIMHANS, Hon'ble Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India Mr Ghulam Nabi Azad presided the convocation in the presence of His Excellency, the Governor of Karnataka, Mr Hansraj Bhardwaj and other dignitaries.
The Department of Neurophysiology was represented by PhD awardees Dr. Basavaraj Tubaki, Dr. Mohan Ganesan, Dr. Preeti Hegde, Dr. Sriranjini, Dr. Dayalan S (in absentia) and MPhil awardee Mr. Ashok S(in absentia). Snaps here and here.
The department congratulates all of the awardees and wishes them all the best in their professional and personal endeavours.
Shilpa BM (2nd year PhD scholar) presented her PhD progress report on her work related to chronic stress.
Ajay Kumar Nair (1st year PhD Scholar) presented a seminar on "Association Cortical Areas: Integration of sensory and motor information" on 13th Jan, 2012.
Ajay started the seminar with the question "What makes humans special?" and then linked it to the predominance of the association cortical areas. After a quick run down of the developments in the field during the last couple of centuries, he reviewed the various cortical areas and the laminar and columnar architecture of the isocortex as well as the association fibers that connect the different areas together. He showed a short video of the work by Andrew Shwartz of the University of Pittsburgh demonstrating a monkey controlling a robotic arm by thoughts (brain machine interface via the pre-motor cortical electrode implants). Ajay then dealt with the functions of the individual association areas and shared about some of the work done by Giacomo Rizzolatti (mirror neurons), Rebecca Saxe (theory of mind) and some of the psychological tests conducted on humans and monkeys to assess working memory, planning etc. He closed the seminar with a brief overview of the various agnosias, apraxias and other remarkable syndromes that ensue when things go wrong.
During the seminar, the work of the great anatomist Szentagothai was brought up. Incidentally, 2012 is being dedicated in his honour by UNESCO. His obituary also provides insights into the life of this great scientist.
Neonatal Hippocampal Lesions in Rhesus Macaques Alter the Monitoring, but Not Maintenance, of Information in Working Memory - Journal Club by Neethi Prem
Neethi Prem (1st Year PhD Scolar) presented an article titled " Neonatal Hippocampal Lesions in Rhesus Macaques Alter the Monitoring, but Not Maintenance, of Information in Working Memory " by Heuer et. al. from the Journal Behavioral Neuroscience (2011, Vol. 125, No. 6, pg: 859 – 870).
This article followed up on the working memory deficits seen in a well established Rat Schizophrenia model, by trying to replicate the same in Rhesus monkeys. They produced ventral hippocampal lesions during the infancy of Rhesus Macaques, using multiple small doses of Ibotenic acid. They speculated that this would result in Prefrontal cortical maldevelopment and finally working memory deficits in adult state. They assessed two major components of Working memory, namely monitoring and maintenance of information. The former was assessed using object self-ordered (Obj-SO) [mediated by the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex], while the latter using session-unique delayed nonmatch-to-sample (SU-DNMS) task [mediated by the ventral lateral prefrontal cortex].
Vrinda M (2nd year PhD Scholar) presented the first seminar of 2012 on the topic "Current concepts of Stem Cell Therapy" on 6th January 2012.
She started with an overview about the basic terminology and history of stem cell therapy. She explained about the conventional Embryonic stem cells and followed up with their inherent problems. She mentioned some of the ways to tap stem cells without using Embryonic stem cells. The newer method of reprogramming adult differentiated cells into stem cells (known as "induced pleuripotent stem cells") was also described using the examples of Parkinson's disease. The second part of the talk was on the use in CNS disorders in general. The final part of the talk was focused on use of stem cell therapy in Temporal lobe epilepsy. It is an understudied area, and the findings from the rat studies that she presented showed some of the limitations in our present knowledge of stem cell therapy. Though seizure frequency decreased, the cognitive dysfunctions remained poor or even worsened. She concluded by summarizing the pros and cons, and future prospects of stem cell therapy in CNS disorders.