The Department of Biomedical Engineering, in collaboration with the Department of Education, North Eastern Hill University, Shillong organized an International Brain Research Organization (IBRO) APRC Associate School on “Modern Interventional Tools for Children with neurodevelopmental Disorders” from 25th October to 29th October, 2021. The aim of the IBRO-APRC Associate School 2021 provided participants with extensive knowledge to understand the modern interventional tools related to cognitive impairment in children with neuro-developmental disorders and improvement in their functional outcome and quality of life. The School was held in collaboration with the Society for Neurochemistry India (SNCI) Satellite meeting scheduled immediately for completion of the IBRO School from 30th October to 1st November, 2021. The School would provide exposure and include hands-on training to the participants with the theme “Modern interventional tools to improve cognitive behavior in children with neurodevelopmental disorders” that would allow them to understand how diseased brain conditions could be improved and made to function similar to the normal human brain. Presently, neuro-modulation techniques are an emerging medical and research field that targets the nervous system to do restoration of functional performance, relief of pain and control of involuntary movements thereby improving neuroplasticity. The key features of this school were emphasis on open scientific discussion with experts, a hands on laboratory training experience and presentation of the participants through symposia and group meetings during the week long event. The School led to a generation of new technical know-how and sharing of research ideas among participants and experts for the advancement of the field globally and involving the community at large.
The participants for this School were doctoral research scholars, Master’s students, young faculty members, scientists and researchers working in the field from the Asia Pacific region. The School received a large number of applications from participants from different countries in the Asia Pacific region such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Armenia, Nigeria etc. Eminent Speakers from India and abroad shared their knowledge and experience during the week-long event. The Valedictory Ceremony of the School was held on 29.10.2021 in blended mode with opening remarks by Dr. Dinesh Bhatia, Associate Professor and Coordinator, Biomedical Engineering Department, NEHU, Shillong welcomed all the Guests, Special invitees, colleges, participants, supporting staff and print and electronic media. He emphasised the need for organizing the School, the activities undertaken and the different aspects which would be covered by experts from India and abroad. He profusely thanked the officials of IBRO and SNCI for the kind support rendered in organizing the events. Dr. Bhatia stressed that technological interventions are important to improve the quality of life. He touched upon the different research findings that affect the quality of life of the disabled population in the country. He thanked Prof. P.S. Shukla, Vice Chancellor, NEHU and other University officials for their kind support in successfully organizing the IBRO APRC Associate School at NEHU, Shillong. Post felicitation of the dignitaries, Prof. Nalin Mehta, Director, NEIGRIHMS, Shillong who was the Chief Guest for the function spoke about integration of social, emotional and scientific components and need for ethics based research. He stressed that improving the quality of life of people in general and children in particular is an important facet of the researchers and policy makers with special reference to neurodevelopmental disorders. The technological interventions should be more prominent in the development of modern tools and techniques and their integration with society. The ethical issues, confidentiality, protection of child rights, and protection of minors, respect of incompetent children, reaching the unreached are the multiple issues in the present society which needs to be addressed. Prof. Mehta suggested for the integration of different domains such as Medicine, Engineering, Technology, and Social Sciences for the betterment of society.
Prof. B. Panda, Honorary Director, ICSSR-NERC, NEHU, Shillong who was the Guest of Honor spoke about the study on socio-economic impact on benefits available to such population highlighting the lack of study in our country which was the need of the hour. He discussed overcoming the digital divide and providing education on neuro-developmental disorders to society. He stressed upon the lack of cost-based research with special reference to neuroscience in the country. He highlighted that education, health, and income are playing a major role in improving the individual capability and community capabilities in any society. Prof. Panda quoted Noble Laurates Prof. Amartya Sen and Prof. Mahammad Yunus and their contributions to the development of society. He provided statistical data with special references to neurodevelopmental disorders such as ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) globally and in India.
The Special Invited Guest Prof. Yukiko Goda, APRC Representative, Deputy Director and Team Leader, RIKEN Centre for Brain Science, Woko, Japan, discussed the scope of the ongoing IBRO School and the opportunities available to young budding scientists and researchers seeking funding from the IBRO. She rightly pointed out that the main purpose of education is dissemination of information. Prof. Yukiko informed about the different brain research societies and their activities. She stressed the need for technological interventions to benefit people with disabilities. She also congratulated Dr. Bhatia and the entire organizing team for planning and organizing a wonderful event along with the Society for Neurochemistry India (SNCI) Satellite meeting. Dr. Rajpal Singh, Joint Secretary, SNCI spoke about the need to organise such events and the role of the SNCI in promoting such events in the country for more than 50 years. The Vote of Thanks was presented by Dr. N.A. Reddy, Joint Coordinator from the Department of Education, NEHU, Shillong, who profusely thanked all those involved in making preparations to make the event a grand success and how the ideas generated could be utilized in the long run for the betterment of the Institutions and the society at large. He expressed his heartfelt gratitude to each and everyone with special thanks to the IBRO, SNCI officials and Prof. P.S. Shukla, Vice Chancellor, NEHU, Shillong.