20th Seminar: Complex Systems & Dynamics IIT Madras

Prof V Srinivasa Chakravarthy
Department of Biotechnology, IIT Madras  

Modeling the basal ganglia to understand Parkinson’s disease

Date: November 3, 2021
Time: 4:00 PM (+05:30 UTC)

Abstract: Basal Ganglia (BG) is a deep brain circuit with wide-ranging brain functions including action selection, reinforcement learning, motor preparation, sequence generation, goal directed behavior and working memory. There is a growing consensus to explain the BG functions using concepts from Reinforcement Learning (RL). Actor, Critic and Explorer are three key modules in RL framework. Although cortical substrates for exploration have been found, no subcortical counterparts of the same have been identified.

The talk presents and develops the consequences of a hypothesis that the Indirect Pathway — a part of the BG, — is the subcortical substrate for exploration. This hypothesis seems to supply a missing piece in the application of RL concepts to BG anatomy. The talk outlines how this novel approach to BG functional anatomy can explain a range of BG functions. As specific applications of the above modeling approach, models of Parkinsonian reaching movements and Parkinsonian gait are presented. The model is also extended to present a theory of “willed action” i.e. how does brain produce what we understand as “voluntary movement”? The talk concludes with an outline of how computational modeling can used to develop a quantitative, model-driven framework for treatment of Parkinson’s disease.

The talk is given in a “popular science” style so as to be accessible to the general audience.

Bio: V. Srinivasa Chakravarthy is currently a professor at the Department of Biotechnology, Indian Institute of Technology Madras, where he heads the Laboratory for Computational Neuroscience. He received his doctoral degree from the University of Texas at Austin and postdoctoral training from Baylor College of Medicine, Houston. His research interests include computational neuroscience and machine learning. He is an author of two books on neuroscience. He is the inventor of a novel script called Bharati that can express all the major Indian languages.

Prof Sayan Gupta  
Applied Mechanics, IIT Madras

Prof Neelima Gupte  
Physics, IIT Madras

Prof Elena Surovyaktina

Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)
Potsdam, Germany


IITM Research Initiative Spotlight Webinar: July 2, 2021

Proposed Center of Excellence:

Complex Systems and Dynamics, IIT Madras

The aim of the proposed center is to contribute to the development of new techniques and tools for mathematical modelling and analysis of complex dynamical systems and to investigate some of the challenging problems in climate science, neuroscience, biological systems, multiphysics systems and active flows. In addition to enhancing the fundamental understanding of the universal features which contribute to similar phenomena which occur across a diversity of systems, the effort could also translate into delivering technology which is useful in societal and industrial contexts. This initiative is envisaged as an interdisciplinary center drawing on expertise from science, engineering and humanities departments to develop the expertise and synergy required for the proposed outcomes. 

This event will discuss the research programmes of this initiative, current research programmes, the interdisciplinary dual degree program on Complex Systems and Dynamics which is offered under this umbrella, as well as international collaborations, research and job opportunities available, and upcoming events.

Complex Systems & Dynamics     Indian Institute of Technology Madras     Chennai 600036     India