What can the experts of distinctive scientific areas like Informatics, Biology, Clinical Psychology, Linguistics, Bioengineering and Nanotechnology have in common?
A passion for Neuroscience, explains to The Study Abroad Portal Dr. Narayan P. Subramaniyam, Postdoctoral Researcher currently working on methods of how to estimate brain connectivity.
Hosting the Master in Neuroscience Webinar with the University of Helsinki on 22 November, we took advantage of the chance to understand why the field is so popular and what the prospective students should consider when they are looking to do their Master´s in the Neuroscience area.
Firstly, what is Neuroscience?
Dr. Subramaniyam: The human brain weighs approximately 1.5 kg, but packs almost 100 billion neurons in it and each of those neurons makes about 1.000 to 10.000 connections.
It´s this enormous complexity of the brain that makes us, humans, what we are: Our thoughts, our behaviour, our feelings and our personality are the results of our brain´s functions.
Neuroscience is the study of the nervous system, in which the brain plays of course the central role, so we can also say that Neuroscience is the study of the brain.
Why is the field of Neuroscience so relevant nowadays?
Dr. Subramaniyam: The understanding of the human brain and the discovery of new methods in order to analyse it, will enable the development of treatment methods for many serious neurodegenerative and neurological diseases like Schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy and many other mental illnesses.
Apart from the patient suffering of course, these diseases cause expenses of hundreds of billions of dollars in treatment and management annually and it is estimated that these costs will reach the amount of trillions of dollars by 2050, in the US alone! Thus, extensive reliable research and development of advanced methods by focusing on the field of Neuroscience are the key answers in order to combat this tremendous health and economic challenge.
To achieve that, we require expertise from different areas including physics, biology, chemistry, engineering and mathematics in combination with neurosciences. Therefore, we can say that Neuroscience is an interdisciplinary research field, which can benefit our society leading to implications in areas such as health, education, law, security to mention a few.
Dr. Subramaniyam: I have always found human brain fascinating. A computational jelly-like organ inside our skull that can fathom things from quantum scale to cosmological scale, understand art, invent languages etc. As fascinating as this sounds, the human brain can also go awfully wrong. For example, in epilepsy, a debilitating neurological disorder, the patient experiences seizures in an unpredictable manner.
Developing mathematical models and methods to understand why this happens and how any such neurological disorder can be predicted (and thus prevented ahead of time) has been my passion and research focus. Apart from the application, I am also a very curious person by nature. Being in the field of Neuroscience and given the complexity of the human brain, I am sure I will never run out of questions and the quest to satisfy my curiosity.
What do the prospective students of Neuroscience need to consider when selecting university?
You should definitely look at the faculty members and the kind of research that they are involved in. This will give you a good idea about what their strong points and their research focuses are. You can then evaluate, if this is something that is in-line with your interests and your objectives depending on your academic background and on your future goals.
Also, look at the research infrastructure of the university as it will very much matter when you eventually start doing research for your master’s degree that may be the stepping stone for your research career in Neuroscience!
Apart from that, you should also look at a variety of other factors like the academic reputation, as well as, the teaching and research quality of the institution and the location of the university. It´s of course much better if the university is located in a lovely and safe city, like Helsinki in Finland for example. The major subject that is offered also plays a very important role and of course it should be taken into account before you make your decision.
Are you interested in studying Neuroscience?
The University of Helsinki is inviting you to a free Online Open Day that will give you the chance to take advantage of an interactive 45-min webinar and get thoroughly informed!
To book you place, register now!
Already registered? You can now have a look at the webinar´s participants: We asked them “Why Neuroscience?” and this is what they say!
You want to know more about life in Finland? Then check this out: Both Innovative and Sustainable: The Perfect Balance.