A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been renewed between the institutes at the Bangalore Life Science Cluster and The University of Edinburgh on the 18th of February 2016, to reinforce ongoing collaborations and create a framework for developing new areas of mutual interest.
The agreement was signed by the Director of NCBS, Prof Satyajit Mayor, the Dean of inStem, Prof Apurva Sarin, the CEO of CCAMP, Prof S Ramaswamy and the Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Edinburgh University, Prof Sir Timothy O'Shea. The formal signing was followed by a tour of the laboratories by the visitors.
This renewal furthers a partnership which has already been in place for several years. The original MoU with the University of Edinburgh laid the foundations for a major collaborative program on brain development, the Centre for Neurodevelopmental Synaptopathies (CNS) which brought together researchers at NCBS, inStem and Edinburgh and a range of expertise in several fields of neurobiology including neurodevelopment, synaptic function and plasticity, human stem cells and cognition-behavior. Key goals for the program have included the acceleration of discovery-led translational studies in the field of neurological disorders such as Autism Spectrum Disorders and Intellectual Disability (ASD/ID) and capacity building by training the clinician scientists.
"The University of Edinburgh enjoys a long standing relationship with India. An important part of our engagement has been the development of major, mutually beneficial links with Indian institutions. The Memorandum of Understanding with Bangalore Life Science Cluster strengthens Edinburgh's commitment to discovery-led studies in the field of neurological disorders and reinforces our position as a partner of choice in India," said Professor Sir Timothy O' Shea, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh.
"The collaboration between inStem, NCBS and the University of Edinburgh, which forms the foundation of the Centre for Neurodevelopmental Synaptopathies (CNS), has evolved rapidly into a very vibrant and satisfying scientific endeavor. Together we are combining our complementary technical and intellectual expertise to examine the neural basis of autism spectrum disorders and intellectual disabilities. We've built a wonderful team and it's been a fantastic experience working with our partners in Edinburgh", says Prof Sumantra Chattarji, Coordinator, CNS.
"This is a fantastically visionary inter-disciplinary and international partnership between 2 major centres of excellence that seeks, through fundamental research, to improve our understanding of devastating and presently untreatable neurodevelopmental disorders", says Prof Siddharthan Chandran, University of Edinburgh.
The collaboration between inStem and Edinburgh has also made it possible for Indian clinicians to benefit from existing infrastructure at Edinburgh for training clinician scientists. Dr Biju Vishwanath, a psychiatrist pursuing a PhD as part of the collaboration between inStem and Edinburgh, spent a period of time at Edinburgh, honing his research skills. In his words, "My work was accelerated by a visit to the Scottish Centre for Regenerative Medicine at Edinburgh in 2014. This visit provided me with access to world-class stem cell research. In addition, I was introduced to many young clinician scientists who showed me that I could do similar cutting-edge research in India, even with ongoing clinical commitments."
The Centre for Neurodevelopmental Synaptopathies is a part of the Centre for Brain Development and Repair theme at inStem and receives support both from the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India and the Wadhwani Foundations.
With the renewal of the MoU we look forward to growing further our association with the University of Edinburgh, both via the CNS program and other research directions as they emerge.
Video Link : a video by the University of Edinburgh, about this visit https://vimeo.com/157996101