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Narrowing Down The Areas of Work for a Nueroscientist. What would this be called?

I'm really interested in #neuroscience, and am planning to become a #neuroscientist. I saw somewhere that neuroscientist is a more general term, and that neuroscientists focus on an area, like brain development. I would really just like to make new, breakthrough discoveries about the brain, that we haven't known before. Any help in narrowing it down? I'm not really interested in dealing with patients, and all that, so could someone help me narrow it down?


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Sharlene’s Answer

You're right, neuroscience is as broad as the number of things your brain does :)

If the goal is just "make a breakthrough", you're going to have a hard time- the best way to narrow down is to find what interests you. For example, as an engineer who is in neuroscience, I like systems-level neuroscience that can be used for basic science (fundamental 'breakthroughs') and also useful outcomes (things that humans can use- functional 'breakthroughs'). It sounds like you don't care much for clinical outcomes, so that's one thing that you know to avoid.

For things to focus on, try different things the brain does: controls movement, processes sensory input (how we touch, smell, process what we see, etc), controls our attention, ... there are so many things! Or you could think about disorders that you'd like to work on. You also identified developmental neuroscience, so how the brain becomes the brain.

Alternatively, you could think of other subjects you enjoy- do you like cellular biology? Try cellular neuroscience. Engineering? systems-level. If you really like chemistry, there are lots of molecular processing steps.

The best first step is to get rid of the goal of "make a breakthrough", and change it to "follow your curiosity to solve a question/problem"

Sharlene recommends the following next steps:

Identify brain functions you think are interesting
Find the best intersection of neuroscience with other interests/topics of study such as biology, chemistry, physics, engineering, etc.
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Sofia’s Answer


Indeed, Neuroscience can be defined as an interdisciplinary subject linking a broad range of fields namely physics, chemistry, philosophy, medicine and even art...
So when it comes to narrow down different areas of Neuroscience one could think of the following:

-Cognitive Neuroscience
-Systems Neuroscience
-Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
-Computational Neuroscience
-Neurodegenerative Neuroscience
-Clinical Neuroscience
-Neuroethology Neuroscience
...(to be continued)

This terminology is not fixed and I guess it is debatable sometimes, since they are not completely separated and are linked somehow.
We have also to consider the different approaches inherent to each area and the tools used.
I'm not presenting an extensive list but I guess this covers the most common areas of Neuroscience. I'm sure you will find more when studying in more detail one or various areas, but I hope this can be useful for starting.