Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham has become the first Indian University to partner with European Union’s Human Brain Project that has 143 University institutes in Europe working together to understand brain function and develop solutions to better understand and cure brain diseases.

Functional signals directed by magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) techniques are widely used in specialty hospitals and advanced clinics to monitor brain activity non-invasively. However, to connect these signals to the underlying activity of brain cells or neurons has been a challenge.

In this project called “BOLDsim”, Amrita School of Biotechnology’s Dr. Shyam Diwakar and team will develop a new computational tool for modeling functional signals in the brain using cellular data-driven models. The collaborators for this phase will be University of Pavia in Italy and Aix-Marseille University in France coordinated by Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland. A memorandum of understanding was signed between Amrita and EPFL towards working together on this project. This project will be part of the HBP’s EBRAINS infrastructure. The project has been created by the EU-funded Human Brain Project and offers an extensive portfolio of brain data, scientific services, digital tools and computing resources for researchers and industry.

This BOLDsim project, as part of a HBP voucher grant, will model the special signals generated by brain activity called the blood oxygen level dependent (BOLD) signals. It will use cellular-level data available in the HBP’s Brain Simulation Platform (BSP) and from the team of Prof. Egidio D’Angelo of University of Pavia in Italy and will be made available for neuroscience researchers to use freely and for the whole-brain simulator “The Virtual Brain” (TVB) being developed at Aix-Marseille University, France. Modeling will allow experts a clearer look to precisely understand how brain conditions manifest and to point out changes in neural circuits during certain #healthy and #disease conditions as seen in patients.

This project will also allow a new understanding of how the brain computes in addition to being used as medical prediction models. The HBP project will run until 2023, although a first level stage is expected to be completed by October 2021.