Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore
As an undergraduate at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras, I was fascinated by the mechanics of fluids. While modeling fluid dynamics I noticed how amazingly complex flow patterns could arise from simple flow equations. Towards the end of college, I realized that my interests lay in understanding the mechanics of the human mind. I began my PhD in Neuroscience at Stanford University with the full realization that I was setting myself up for a far greater challenge.
As a child I was mesmerized by music: certain songs would take near-complete control of my mind to the exclusion of thought, and even of self. I began my PhD by studying how music affects the brain. Over time my research interests evolved toward the more general question of understanding how our brains “attend” to a few objects and thoughts to the exclusion of others.
Our lab at the Centre for Neuroscience at IISc seeks to understand how attention arises from neural computations performed by brain networks working in synchrony. In our search for principles in this bewilderingly complex universe of the brain, I remain guided by these thoughts:
“We must learn to understand, rather than avoid complexity: simplicity and complexity often characterize less the object of study than our understanding of it (Gilles Laurent)” and
“I wish to approach truth as closely as is possible, and therefore I abstract everything until I arrive at the fundamental quality of objects (Piet Mondrian)”.