graduate studies in neuroscience

F. Frank LeFever flefever at ix.netcom.com
Sun Mar 16 21:40:24 EST 1997


In <Pine.SOL.3.91.970315205348.14189A-100000 at ux4.cso.uiuc.edu> mike
chesney <mchesney at uiuc.edu> writes: 
>
>	I'm an undergraduate majoring in chemical engineering (I will be 
>graduating in December).  However, I am seriously considering making a

>significant change in career plans--I am thinking about going to 
>graduate school to study neuroscience.  Quite honestly, I don't know
much 
>about the field, but I have always been interested in the brain and
learning. 



You've said the Magic Words: "don't know much about the field"

First step is to BROWSE through current journals and books.  Do you
have access to them, i.e. in an open reading room at  your school or
perhaps a nearby school (e.g. Med School)?

Try to get an idea what LEVEL of analysis seems most in tune with your
interests/abilities/temperment.
  For example, Eric Kandel (Columbia, NYC) is tops re detailed cellular
studies of very primitive organisms which reveal basic aspects of
learning--but no brains involved (except among the researchers...)
  Others look at circuits underlying basic processes in animals with
brains--e.g. Joseph LeDoux (NYU, NYC) and thalamic-amygdalar-brainstem
pathways involved in emotional conditioning.
   Still others look at large-scale orgnization in primate (including
human) brains, with more emphasis on behavioral/cognitive measurements,
complex stimuli or learnign paradigms, etc., etc.

When you have zeroed in on the approximate area or level, follow leads
in the articles--see what journals are cited in their bibliographies,
and seek them out.  EVENTUALLY, look at the fine print under the
authors' names: see where they are working.  Contact these schools, see
what programs are offered and what their requirements are.

Also: take advantage of lectures open to the public (in NYC, via NY
Academy of Sciences, NYNG, etc.)

Frank LeFever
New York Neuropsychology Group






>I would like to do research studying the brain and the physical basis
for 
>learning.  
>	Can anyone offer suggestions/recommendations about making the 
>transition from chemical engineering to neuroscience?   Or advice 
>about which graduate programs I should consider?  I'd like to have a 
>better idea of what I am getting in to by doing this.    
>
>I really need the advice of knowledgeable people.  Please share your
insight.
>
>Mike Chesney




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