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Brief Profile of the Awardee


Dr Ganesan Venkatasubramanian

  • 2018
  • Medical Sciences
  • 24/01/1975
  • Psychiatry
Award Citation:

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(a) Significant contributions to science and/ or technology development by the nominee based on the work done in India during most part of last 5 years:
Dr. Venkatasubramanian has made outstanding contributions towards establishing deficit of insulin-like growth factor-1 in schizophrenia as well as developing novel neuromodulatory technique for the treatment of schizophrenia. His earlier studies on untreated, schizophrenia patients reported the clinical utility of neurological soft signs (Venkatasubramanian et al 2003). He has applied several state-of-the-art brain imaging techniques like structural and functional MRI to elucidate the neural abnormalities in schizophrenia (Venkatasubramanian et al 2005a, 2008, 2010). His studies have established neural correlates of hallucinations and delusions with relevant brain regions that involve temporo-parietal junction (Venkatasubramanian et al 2005b; 2011). His research works have reported for the first time the role of neurotrophic factors like insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) deficit in the pathogenesis of hallucinations in schizophrenia (Venkatasubramanian et al 2007) as well as in treatment of this disorder (Venkatasubramanian et al 2010). These studies were supported by the Innovative Young Biotechnologist Award by the DBT. Apart from IGF-1, he has uncovered the influence of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) deficit in the genesis of schizophrenia symptoms (Kalmady, Venkatasubramanian et al 2014). He has reported the first-time evidence of neuroimmunological mechanisms involving interleukin-6 gene polymorphism to affect the hippocampus volume deficit in schizophrenia (Kalmady, Venkatasubramanian et al 2015). Together, all these clinical neurobiological studies support a compelling role for aberrant neural plasticity to underlie the pathogenesis of schizophrenia. These studies were supported by the Wellcome Trust – DBT India Alliance Senior Fellowship Research Grant. In the recent years, given that neurotrophic factors can modulate neuroplasticity, he has translated these neurobiological research findings towards novel clinical application of transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) – a non-invasive, safe neuromodulation technique that can adaptively modulate neural plasticity to treat schizophrenia. Notably, abnormalities involving temporo-parietal/prefrontal brain regions in schizophrenia patients were established by his earlier studies. The tDCS protocol applied in his research is derived from his earlier neurobiological research towards implementing adaptive neuromodulation of temporoparietal and prefrontal brain regions in schizophrenia (Bose… Venkatasubramanian et al 2014). Using this rigorous application protocol, his work was the first to report case observations illustrating safe application of add-on tDCS in treatment of schizophrenia in pregnancy (Shenoy…Venkatasubramanian et al 2015) as well as tDCS as a potential monotherapy for treating schizophrenia (Gopalkumar…Venkatasubramanian et al 2013). Very recently, he reported compelling utility of add-on tDCS to treat medication-resistant auditory verbal hallucinations in schizophrenia using a randomized, double-blind, sham-controlled design (Bose…Venkatasubramanian et al 2017). The ongoing studies on tDCS are being supported by the Swarnajayanti Fellowship by the DST. Moreover, in collaboration with the DEBEL, DRDO, he has developed a cost-effective, indigenous tDCS device matching international standards of quality and safety that is scalable for India clinical setting. In summary, Dr. Venkatasubramanian is an impactful clinician scientist who has translated his neurobiological research works towards optimizing treatment of schizophrenia using safe, neuromodulatory technique and has developed costeffective
(b) Impact of the contributions in the field concerned:
Dr. Venkatasubramanian’s contributions have resulted in both basic as well applied impact in the field of schizophrenia. His research works have unraveled important insights with regards to the neurotrophic factor deficits in schizophrenia. The clinical utility of neural basis of schizophrenia has been established through his studies on neurological soft signs as well as brain imaging research. His work has evolved establishing a novel method to treat resistant symptoms in schizophrenia using transcranial direct current stimulation. His outstanding works in the clinical neurobiology of schizophrenia has led to specialized clinical service called “Individualized Schizophrenia Treatment and Reintegration (InSTAR) Program” & his pioneering works in tDCS has resulted in development of another specialized clinical research service called “Weak Intensity Stimulation for Enhancement and Reintegration (WISER) Neuromodulation Program” at National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bengaluru, India.
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The Awardee a fellow of the Indian National Science Academy/Indian Academy of Sciences/National Academy of Sciences/Others:
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List of Awardee's 10 most significant publications.
List of Awardee's 5 most significant publications during the last 5 years
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Contact Details

  • Department of Psychiatry
    National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences
    Hosur Road
    Bangalore - 560029
  • 08026995256
  • 08026564830
  • gvs[at]nimhans[dot]ac[dot]in
17 Oct 2018, http://ssbprize.gov.in/Content/Detail.aspx?AID=544