Georg-August University Goettingen, Germany
National Institutes of Health (NIH), Bethesda, USA
National Institute of Mental Health and NeuroSciences (NIMHANS), Bengaluru, India
Establishing a world-class human motor neurophysiology research group in India has been my goal ever since I took up clinical research as a career. My interest to pursue biomedical research stemmed just after graduating (M.B.B.S) from the Jawaharlal Institute for Post Graduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER). I then boldly opted to do my post-graduation in biomedical engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay. In due course, I developed a fascination for neurophysiology and specifically wanted to study clinical neurophysiology at the system level in humans. The then emerging field of non-invasive brain stimulation offered a lot of promise for research with both diagnostic and therapeutic implications. The German exchange student scholarship (DAAD) gave me an opportunity to carry out my dissertation work in this field at RWTH Aachen, Germany with Dr. Roland Sparing, where I studied how isometric contraction influenced the neuroplastic after-effects of transcranial direct current stimulation in healthy adults. Eventually, I decided to pursue my PhD at the Department of Clinical Neurophysiology, Georg-August University Goettingen, Germany with Profs. Michael Nitsche and Walter Paulus. During my PhD, I explored the neuromodulatory effects of levodopa and nicotine on the neuroplasticity induced by different non-invasive brain stimulation protocols in humans.
Having tried my hands on a plethora of neurophysiology techniques in healthy human subjects, pursuing clinical research in patients seemed to be the logical next step to me. I won the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award to pursue postdoctoral training with one of the pioneers in clinical neurophysiology - Dr. Mark Hallett at the Human Motor Control Section, National Institutes of Health (NIH), USA. During my 5 years of postdoctoral training at NIH, I gained expertise in several other neurophysiological techniques such as electromyography (EMG) and electroencephalography (EEG) which I integrated with transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to explore the pathophysiology of movement disorders especially dystonia.
After almost a decade of extensive training in human motor neurophysiology, I felt that I was ready to take the first step towards achieving my goal of establishing a human motor neurophysiology laboratory in India. With generous funding support from the Wellcome Trust/DBT India alliance and the excellent infra-structure offered by the National Institute of Mental Health and NeuroSciences (NIMHANS), I have been able to envision this goal. My proposed project aims at exploring the role of nicotinic neuromodulation in the pathophysiology of levodopa-induced dyskinesias in Parkinson’s disease using several cutting-edge neurophysiological methods such as TMS, EMG, EEG, local field potentials (LFP) and magnetoencephalography (MEG). I believe that my strong technical and research expertise in a whole host of state-of-the-art neurophysiological methods could complement the clinical proficiency of neurologists and psychiatrists in the country to answer key questions on the pathophysiology of various neuropsychiatric disorders.