Aug 2018
Aug 2018

Indo-American Arts Council announces new executive board

Photo: From left, Sunil Hali, Yakub Mathew, Rakesh Kaul, Anurag Harsh, Aroon Shivdasani, Consul General Sandeep Chakravorty,  Dr Nirmal Mattoo and Rajeev Kaul.

The Indo-American Arts Council (IAAC), the New York-based non-profit supporting artistic disciplines in classical, fusion, folk and innovative forms influenced by the arts of India, has announced its new 2018 executive board.

Dr Nirmal Mattoo has taken over as the chairman of the board of IAAC while Sunil Hali has been appointed the executive director; Rakesh Kaul as vice chairman and board members Anil Bansal, Anurag Harsh and advisory members Prof. S Sridhar, Yakub Mathew and Gaurav Verma.

Aroon Shivdasani, the outgoing executive and artistic director of IAAC, retires after 20 years of service and will continue as Brand Evangelist Advisor.

The announcement was made at a gala at the Indian Consulate in New York on July 30, attended by over 160 guests from the arts, media and the Indian American community. Consul General Sandeep Chakravorty welcomed the IAAC members and other guests in his opening remarks.

Chakravorty presented Shivdasani with a plaque in recognition of her services. He stressed the importance of propagating Indian arts. Dr Mattoo also presented Shivdasani with a plaque on behalf of IAAC.

“I am pleased to announce new IAAC board appointments. They bring an eclectic background and exemplify the renaissance spirit that IAAC promotes,” Dr Mattoo explained

The IAAC is known for its annual weeklong film festival and stimulating book and music festivals. The IAAC says it has built a supportive group of patrons that currently exceeds 64,000 in the tristate region.

Aug 2018

Neuroscientist Kasthuri Leading U. of Chicago Research to Map Billions of Brain Cells

Prof. Narayanan Kasthuri, assistant professor of neurobiology and researcher at the University of Chicago’s Argonne project, is leading unique research into mapping billions of brain cells.

Kasthuri and his colleagues are combining new techniques in microscopy, neurobiology and computing to reveal the brain’s inner mechanisms in unprecedented detail, the university said in a report.

In the abstract, the brain is an electrochemical computer, operating on electrical impulses and chemical signals sent between cells. Though the individual pieces may be small, on the scale of mere nanometers, drawing the wiring diagram for this machinery is theoretically possible, and has been done for very simple organisms, it said.

But the size and complexity of the human brain create far bigger challenges. Scientists estimate that the brain contains nearly 100 billion neurons, the basic type of brain cell. Each of those neurons makes tens of thousands of contacts with other cells, bringing the number of connections into the quadrillions, or a million billion, it added.

A complete map of these connections would be nothing less than the largest dataset ever created. But within that massive inventory could lie answers to some of the most elusive scientific questions: the fundamental rules of cognition, explanations for many mental illnesses, even the biological factors that separate humans from other animals, the report went on.

“It’s a huge theory of neuroscience that all of our behaviors, all of our pathologies, all of our illnesses, all of the learning that we do, is all due to changes in the connections between brain cells,” said Kasthuri, assistant professor of neurobiology at the university and neuroscience researcher at Argonne, in the report.



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