Scientists unlock key to hibernation in name of stroke, heart research
- The Australian, July 27, 2011.
Scientists induce hibernation at will: Discovery puts closer to human application
- Science Daily, September 22, 2011.
These media headlines are just two examples of the attention my friend's research group attracted, the world over, for their research.
Dr Tulasi Ram Jinka is a young researcher and a former colleague of mine who has reached amazing heights as a scientist.
A truly inspiring story.
Dr Jinka's extremely strong willpower landed him a PhD position at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks for a project funded by US Army. I personally witnessed how hard he worked to overcome many personal obstacles to reach the US in 2005.
Originally hailing from a small rural town in India where hot weather prevails most of the year, Tulasi Ram acclimatised well to the cold Alaskan conditions and notwithstanding work-related challenges, he successfully completed his PhD.
He won many competitive travel awards and honours during his PhD.
In the year 2011, Tulasi Ram’s work on inducing hibernation, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, won accolades all around the globe and made him a world-class researcher.
His work enabled squirrels to spontaneously enter and reverse hibernation states. In simple terms, quite analogous or similar to a "switch" that controls hibernation. He is thankful to US Army Research Office and Department of Defense for their support towards his project which has the potential to save soldiers’ life by inducing a suspended-animation state (like hibernation) that can buy some time to transport wounded soldiers from battlefield to a hospital.
Tulasi Ram has published many scientific journal papers, book chapters and has presented at invited seminars since completing his PhD.
Hibernators undergo situations where the heartbeat, blood flow, body temperature and metabolism significantly drop down mimicking similar situations to cardiac arrest. But, hibernators come out of hibernation without any damage to the heart, brain or other vital organs. Thus, a hibernating animal is a good model for cerebral ischemia repercussion injury research. Cardiac arrest is one of the leading causes of death and disability around the world.
One promising area of improving the survival rate and neuroprotection (protection of the nervous system against damage such as that seen in conditions like stroke) is the application of therapeutic hypothermia (low body temperature and metabolic condition) in cardiac arrest patients.
Dr Jinka's area of research involves the application of principles governing hibernation to non-hibernators, with an eventual goal of discovering a safe drug that could induce therapeutic hypothermia and targeted temperature management in cardiac arrest patients, and improve survival and neurological recovery.
Tulasi Ram and his wife are blessed and in love with their one year old daughter and it is a great pleasure for me to introduce Tulasi Ram to you all as a normal, family man but also an amazing researcher.
To reach the heights that he has reached as a researcher so far, is truly inspiring and I am proud to have him as a friend.