The current era is said to be the ‘Age of Neurosciences’ just as the previous one was called the space age. Research in neuroscience is currently in its most fascinating form with more and more things to be learnt about our brains and thereby our own self. Basic research has provided us with such strong foundations that we have dared to look beyond; into the realms of the diseases that affect the nervous system using techniques and tools provided by advances in the basic neuroscience.
The virtual department of Clinical Neurosciences was created at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) with effect from 01 January 2013. The department has 3 adjunct faculty members: Prof Vani Santosh (HOD), Dr John P. John and Dr Ravi Yadav. The virtual department currently has 23 Research Residents (5 candidates per year) who are selected and provided financial support under the Indian Council of Medical (ICMR) MD-PhD Talent Search Scheme (TSS). Five candidates who have completed MBBS with brilliant academic records are selected each year on the basis of a competitive national level entrance examination and personal interview, conducted along with the annual entrance examinations for all courses at NIMHANS.
This department has been created to foster research temperament amongst medical graduates with brilliant academic records. The long-term objective of creation of this discipline is to boost capacity building at the national level in the emerging field of Translational Medicine, specifically as it applies to Neuroscience. The Institute envisages that the newly set up department would succeed in bringing out clinician-neuroscientists, who are equally adept in both clinical and research aspects, unlike the dichotomy that seems to exist at present. This new enterprise, therefore expects to bridge the wide gap that exists between the “bench and the bed-side”, thereby leading on to translational research that will have more direct clinical applications. These young clinician-neuroscientists are expected to lead the way in the field of Translational Neuroscience in the country in the coming decades.
Translational Research has been the core-driving feature of the activities of this department. Our group employ techniques as modest as an EEG or simple as an immunohistochemistry to advanced neuro-imaging techniques to high-throughput techniques such as genome sequencing and microarray analysis to try answering a few daunting questions in the fields of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry.
Since the inception of this course, over the past 6 years, the progress in this course has been motivating and encouraging. There have been more than 50 scientific publications in the various peer-reviewed high impact national and international journals.
The research residents have been selected for more than 50 national and international conferences for oral/poster presentations and have represented India in countries like USA, Canada, Spain, England, Vietnam, Taiwan, Scotland, Denmark, Italy, China, Sweden, Austria etc. In addition, the residents have won numerous outstanding awards both at the national and international platforms.
The ramifications of this department and some of the major areas of research are as below:
- Dementias – Alzheimer’s Disease
- Autism spectrum disorders
- Brain Tumors
- Mitochondrial disorders
- Movement Disorders Schizophrenia
- Sleep Disorders
- Traumatic Brain Injuries