August 14, 2023: Indian-origin computational Neuroscientist Dr Srikanth Ramaswamy has been announced as one of six new Fellows for the 2023 Lister prize for his early-career success that indicated an exceptional potential for future biomedical research. His work contributes to a greater understanding of disease and pathogens and the body’s healing mechanisms, supporting the development of new therapeutic approaches.
Dr Ramaswamy is part of Newcastle University’s NUAcT fellowship scheme and leads the Neural Circuits Laboratory. His research aims to better understand how the brain works and to build computer models of how it implements cognitive functions.
The brain continuously adapts and responds to behavioural demands. It achieves this by controlling the function of nerve cells (neurons) and their networks through the release of neuromodulators.
Neuromodulators – histamine, acetylcholine, noradrenaline, dopamine and serotonin – are chemical messengers that govern the emergence of brain movement by controlling the activity of neural networks and regulating shifts between behavioural states like sleep, wakefulness, distraction and attention.
Dr Ramaswamy’s research will assess how neuromodulators shape cognition and use this knowledge to build computer models of how the brain works and how it goes awry in disease.
He said: “Winning a prestigious Lister Prize will help to advance my research programme at Newcastle University and propel my career development.
Dr Ramaswamy further added, “The flexibility of funding provided by a Lister Prize will allow me to build a multidisciplinary team to progress with this new research direction, focusing on biological and artificial neural networks. Over and above, I will benefit from the Institute’s mentorship programme for early career scientists and become part of a lifelong network of Lister Fellows.”