Women Section
Medicine & Pharmaceuticals

Vijayalakshmi Ravindranath

Date of Birth: October,18.1953

Education: Master?s degree from Andhra University and and Ph.D in Biochemistry from University of Mysore. Post-doctoral training at National Institutes of Health, USA., Prior to taking over the current position of Director at National Brain Research Centre (NBRC), she was a Professor of Neurochemistry at National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bangalore, where her research centred on identifying the factors involved in differential drug response often seen in patients with mental illnesses and continued there till March 2000. V.Ravindranath is the Founder Director of the National Brain Research Centre also a Deemed University, which has been recently established by the Government of India as a centre of excellence to co-ordinate and network neuroscience research groups in the country.

Fields of Specialization: Research interest focuses on the metabolism of psychoactive drugs in brain. Psychoactive drugs are metabolized by cytochrome P-450 enzymes in the liver into both active and inactive compounds, some of which can prolong the parent drug's therapeutic action. The working group has demonstrated that P-450 enzymes are also present in the brain where drug metabolism can take place indicating that P-450 enzymes may play an important role in modifying the therapeutic action of drugs used in the treatment of mental illnesses at their primary sites of action in the brain. The presence of P450 in neuronal cells and the inter-individual variations typically seen in the several human autopsy tissues examined so far, focuses attention for the first time on the role of in situ metabolism at the site of action of these drugs. Currently interested in the identification of human brain specific isoforms of P450 and their functional characterisation. This area of research is highly relevant in the development of drugs used to treat mental illnesses such as depression, obsessive- compulsive disorder, schizophrenia and anxiety disorders.

She has also been studying the molecular mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson's disease and motor neuron disease. She has spear-headed efforts at NBRC and networked over 42 institutions involved in neuroscience research and helped to develop multi-institutional andulti-disciplinary collaborations while making available the facilities at NBRC to neuroscientists from other centers.Through the efforts at networking with other neuroscientists both within the country and abroad, newer areas of research such as neuroinformatics have been initiated not only at NBRC but also in several networked centres of NBRC and helped revitalize the growth of modern neuroscience in India.

Scientific and Academic Recognition includes: Maduri Sitamma Memorial Scholarship (1972-74),. Bhatnagar Memorial Prize (1974),. Jeypore Vikram Deo Medal (1974), Prof. T. Seshadri Shastiabhdhapurti Prize (1974),. Prof. Gopala Rao Shatiabhdhapurti Prize (1974),. Fogarty International Fellowship (1982), Visiting Professor, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon, U.S.A., 1989.,Member, Editorial Board of the International Journal, "Neurotoxicity Research", USA, National Representative for the Toxicology Commission of International Union of Pure & Applied Chemistry, 1997-2002., Fellow, Indian Academy of Neurosciences, 1996., Fellow, The National Academy of Sciences, India, 1998, Fellow, International College of Neuropsychopharmacology 2000, Fellow, Indian Academy of Science, 2001,Fellow, Third World Academy of Sciences, 2002 Fellow, Indian National Science Academy, 2004, Member, Working Group on Neuro informatics of Global Science Forum, 2000,Member, Editorial Board, Indian Journal of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Member, Governing Council of International Brain Research Organisation, Member, Council of Federation of Asian and Oceanian Neuroscience Societies, 2001, Member, Council, National Academy of Sciences, 2002.

Awarded S.S. Bhatnagar Award for Medical Sciences, in 1996,Omprakash Bhasin Award for Science and Technology in 2001,K.P. Bhargava Medal of INSA (2001).Recipient of Stree Shakti Science Samman( 2002:) for contributions in the field of Neuroscience.Her laboratory has also been recognised as an internationally pioneering laboratory in this area and she has been awarded a R-01 (individual investigator award) grant by National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), National Institutes of Health, U.S.A. to pursue research in this area.

Source: National Brain Research Centre