Indo-Canadian entrepreneur Prem Watsa donates $5 Million to IIT Madras

The donation was facilitated by the Canadian Friends of IIT-Madras (CFIITM), a charity focused on promoting IIT Madras within its Canadian alumni network and broader society.

IIT Madras Distinguished Alumnus Mr. Prem Watsa donates US$ 5 Million for Brain Research / IIT Madras Office of Alumni & Corporate Relations

Indo-Canadian billionaire Prem Watsa, founder of Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited hs made a significant donation of $5 million to his alma mater Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras).

The sum will support the Sudha Gopalakrishnan Brain Centre at IIT Madras and advance research activities focused on generating unprecedented human brain data and technology tools, the institute said in a statement.

Watsa, who graduated from IIT Madras in 1971 with a degree in chemical engineering, was honored with the Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1999. He praised the quality and commitment of the team at the Brain Centre, emphasizing the unique technology platform developed to produce high-resolution images of human brains.

"The quality of work and the team's commitment at IITM's Sudha Gopalakrishnan Brain Centre is truly outstanding. The technology platform they have developed that generates high-resolution image volumes of human brains is very unique,” he said.

“ It has a far reaching impact in advancing our knowledge of human brains, developing insights that will lead to solutions for highly challenging brain diseases," Watsa added.

The Sudha Gopalakrishnan Brain Centre, established in March 2022, has created a high-throughput histology pipeline capable of processing entire human brains into digital images at petabyte-scale. These detailed datasets provide a comprehensive view of the human brain at a cellular level, aiding neuroscience experts worldwide in their research and discoveries.

Kris Gopalakrishnan, co-founder of Infosys and another distinguished IIT Madras alumnus, acknowledged Watsa’s donation, stating, "This support augments the Centre's existing philanthropic and CSR funding, enabling it to scale up its research on the human brain atlas."

The donation was facilitated by the Canadian Friends of IIT-Madras (CFIITM), a charity dedicated to promoting IIT Madras among its Canadian alumni and society. Directors of CFIITM, Prof. Marthi Venkatesh Mannar and Prof. Partha Mohanram, expressed their satisfaction with the donation furthering Indo-Canadian cooperation.

Prof. Mahesh Panchagnula, Dean of Alumni and Corporate Relations at IIT Madras, expressed gratitude for Watsa’s contribution, highlighting its importance in advancing the Brain Centre's research capabilities.

"This generous support from Prem Watsa will play a critical role in scaling up our work towards becoming a globally leading R&D center," said Prof. Mohanasankar Sivaprakasam, head of the Brain Centre.









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