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IIT Madras Distinguished Alumnus Mr. Prem Watsa donates US$ 5 Million for Brain Research

By   /  June 19, 2024  /  Comments Off on IIT Madras Distinguished Alumnus Mr. Prem Watsa donates US$ 5 Million for Brain Research

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CHENNAI : Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited, a leading Canadian financial company founded by IIT Madras Alumnus Mr. Prem Watsa, is going to support the research activities of IIT Madras’ Sudha Gopalakrishnan Brain Centre through a research grant of US$ 5 million (approximately INR 41 crore).

Mr. V Prem Watsa, who graduated from IIT Madras in 1971 with a First Class degree in Chemical Engineering, was presented with the Distinguished Alumnus Award on 1999.

The Sudha Gopalakrishnan Brain Centre was launched in March 2022 to power an ambitious Global Project to image the human brain at the cellular levels by generating unprecedented human brain data, scientific output and technology tools.

Commending the research underway at this Centre, Mr. Prem Watsa, Founder, Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer of Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited, said, “The quality of work and the team’s commitment at IITM’s Sudha Gopalakrishnan Brain Centre is truly outstanding. The technology platform they have developed that generates high-resolution image volumes of human brains is very unique. It has far reaching impact in advancing our knowledge of human brains, developing insights that will lead to solutions for highly challenging brain diseases.”

Mr. Prem Watsa added, “To handle this enormous complexity, they are working in close collaboration with brain researchers in various fields around the world. Fairfax is pleased to support this cutting-edge R&D work and we wish them the very best to reach greater heights.”

The IIT Madras Sudha Gopalakrishnan Brain Centre has developed a world-class high-throughput histology pipeline that processes whole human brains into high-resolution digital images at petabyte-scale. These unique first-in-class data sets of human brains of different types and ages provide an unprecedented high-resolution view of human brains that reveal cellular level details across the entire brain. This data is being studied by globally leading neuroscience experts for new knowledge and discovery.

Further, Mr Kris Gopalakrishnan, Co-founder of Infosys and Distinguished Alumnus of IIT Madras who played a key role in establishing the Centre said, “I compliment Shri Prem Watsa on his contribution to Brain Centre at IIT Madras. This augments the support the Centre is already receiving from various philanthropic and CSR funds and enables the Centre to scale up its research on human brain atlas.”

The donation was facilitated by the Canadian Friends of IIT-Madras (CFIITM), a Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) registered charity that seeks to advance the cause of IIT-Madras among its Canadian alumni and Canadian society at large.

“We were very happy that this donation for cutting-edge work at IITM will also further the cause of Indo-Canadian cooperation,” said Prof. Marthi Venkatesh Mannar and Prof. Partha Mohanram, Directors of CFIITM.

Thanking Mr. Prem Watsa for this generous contribution, Prof. Mahesh Panchagnula, Dean (Alumni and Corporate Relations), IIT Madras, said, “We are delighted to see Mr. Prem Watsa supporting a crucial initiative at IIT Madras in relation to understanding the brain.”

“This generous support from Mr. Prem Watsa will play a critical role in scaling up our work towards becoming a globally leading R&D centre,” remarked Prof. Mohanasankar Sivaprakasam, Head of IIT Madras Sudha Gopalakrishnan Brain Centre.

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