It is proud privilege and pleasure for me to introduce Prof. Jagarllpudi Mural Krishna Murthy, 29th President of the Indian Academy of Neurology, a person who hardly needs any introduction to the neuroscientists of India. I have worked with him closely during the last 15 years with a shared aim of promoting EEG and epilepsy teaching in India and have come to admire him as a great neurologist and even greater human being. Popularly known as JMK or Murthy to his friends and Murthy sir to his hundreds of beloved students, he is one of the most prominent neurologists, researchers, and teachers in the history of  Indian Neurology.  

Prof. JMK Murthy was born on May 29, 1949, in a small town of Kovuru, Nellore District, Andhra Pradesh to late Sri J. Chidambaram, a dedicated school headmaster, and late Smt. J. Sarada, a housewife. Growing up in a family of 2 brothers and 7 sisters, he learned the virtues of hard work and discipline at an early age by idolizing his father. He did his MBBS from Guntur Medical College, Guntur, and subsequently joined PGIMER, Chandigarh for his training in internal medicine and subsequently in neurology. PGIMER was considered as the Mecca of Neurology at that time and the Department of Neurology was helmed by Prof. J. S. Chopra, a doyen of Neurology and a strict disciplinarian. The young mind of Prof Murthy was influenced by Prof Chopra to pursue an academic and research career in Neurology. As a true “Shishya” he credits his achievemnets to Prof. Chopra who in-turn recognized him as one of his best students. After completing his DM with flying colors in 1979, he briefly worked in the Departments of Neurology at Osmania Medical College, Hyderabad, and Andhra Medical College, Vishakhapatnam before joining as the Head of the Neurology Department at Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS), Hyderabad in 1986. He was head of the Neurology Department at NIMS for 11 years and started DM (Neurology) course and Neurotechnology course. Importantly, he ushered an era of strong teaching activities and high-quality research making it one of the finest Neurology departments in the country. Since leaving NIMS in 2000, he is working as the Chief of Neurosciences at Care Hospitals, Hyderabad where he started the DNB Neurology course and has continued his clinical, teaching, and research work.      

A product of the old school of Neurology, Dr. Murthy is an excellent clinician who insists upon meticulous history taking and is always spot on in his diagnoses. He has kept himself abreast with all the new developments in neurology and is equally adept at newer technologies and recent therapeutic advances. Although he is an expert in all areas of neurology, he has a special interest in critical care neurology and epilepsy.  He realized the importance of critical care neurology when nobody in India was even aware of this subspecialty and has developed a state of art neurocritical care units at NIMS and Care hospital. He was the first to start a comprehensive epilepsy care center and epilepsy surgery program in undivided Andhrapradesh and one of the earliest to start continuous EEG monitoring in the country. He has established a model of epilepsy care  “Specialist Care at the Doorstep”  for people with epilepsy, Comprehensive Rural Epilepsy Study South India (CRESSI).    

Despite his busy clinical schedule, he has undertaken remarkable clinical research in the fields of critical care neurology, epilepsy, and neuro-infections over the last 40 years. His enormous research output can be judged by the sheer number of his research achievements: 4 books in epilepsy including the most popular EEG in Clinical Practice, 34 chapters including to Handbook of Clinical Neurology, 207 publications, 9707 citations, an h-index of 45, and i-10 index of 96. His name has been included in the top 2% of neurology researchers in the world by Stanford University in 2020, one of only three neurologists from India to receive such honor. His work in the field of epilepsy and critical care neurology is highly cited and known all across the world. His contribution to neurology teaching and research has been recognized by multiple awards including Dr. A. B. Baker Distinguished Teacher Award by the American Academy of Neurology, Tadakora award of Commission of Asian and Oceanian Affairs, International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) for the best research work in Epilepsy, and Dr. Vimala Virmani Medal of National Academy of Medical Sciences. He has also been awarded the fellowship of American Academy of Neurology (NAMS), Indian Academy of Neurology, and National Academy of Medical Science and has delivered multiple orations including Achanta Laxmipath Oration of NAMS, Das Gupta Oration of Indian Academy of Neurology, Ms. Sobha Arjundas Oration of Indian Epilepsy Society, and Sarabai Oration of Association of Physicians of India.  

He has served the Indian Academy of Neurology in various capacities including executive committee member (1993-1995), CME convenor (1993-1996), and the treasurer (2000-2002). He was the editor-in-chief of Neurology India from 2009-2014, a period of exponential growth for the journal. He has been on the editorial team of numerous international journals and is a reviewer for some of the most prestigious journals including Neurology, Clinical Practice Neurology, Epilepsia, Epilepsy & Behavior Reports, Seizure and Journal of Neurological Sciences In addition, he is a meticulous organizer and has organized numerous highly successful national conferences including the first-ever conference on critical care neurology and a first-ever hands-on EEG workshop. 

On the personal front, his wife and companion of 40 years, Dr. Sundaram Challa is an eminent neuropathologist and avid researcher. She retired as Dean, Senior Professor & Head, Department of Pathology, Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences, Hyderabad and presently serving as the President of Neuropathology Society of India. Their son, Shashanka and Daughter-in-law, Manogyna are both Engineers and live in Greenville, South Carolina, USA  with their son Dhruva.  

A man of few words but of profound wisdom, Prof. Murthy represents and stoutly defends the values of a bygone era: sincerity, honesty, and integrity. I have yet to come across a more hardworking, honest, and dedicated person. He still works in the hospital from 8 AM to 6 PM seeing patients who come to meet him from all across India. His dedication is exemplary: he is usually the first person to arrive and the last person to leave in all the conferences which he attends. Although age has slowed down him a bit physically, his mind is as sharp as ever and he is always ready with new ideas for teaching and improving patient care. He strongly supports all the hard-working people and is always open to new ideas. He is also a strong proponent of the merit-based system and shuns the idea of political maneuvering and discrimination in academic work and organization. I am sure that with his experience, wisdom, and dedication he will take the academy to newer heights.

I wish him and the whole team great success.

Dr Chaturbhuj Rathore

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