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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.
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James Constantine’s Answer

Dear Ekeko,

Refining Your Focus as a Neuroscientist

To refine your focus as a neuroscientist and propel the field forward with groundbreaking brain discoveries, it's beneficial to specialize in specific subfields within neuroscience that resonate with your interests. Considering your preference for minimal patient interaction, here are some potential areas of focus:

Neurodevelopmental Neuroscience: This field is dedicated to comprehending the brain's evolution from infancy to adulthood. It involves studying processes like neurogenesis, synaptogenesis, and neural plasticity to reveal the mechanisms that drive brain development.

Cognitive Neuroscience: This branch of neuroscience explores how the brain processes information, cognition, memory, attention, language, and decision-making. By investigating cognitive functions at the neural level, you can contribute to deepening our knowledge of intricate brain processes.

Molecular Neuroscience: This specialization delves into the molecular mechanisms that dictate brain function. By examining how genes, proteins, and signaling pathways shape neural activity and behavior, you can discover fresh insights into brain function at the molecular level.

Systems Neuroscience: This field investigates how various brain regions collaborate to produce complex behaviors and cognitive functions. By studying neural circuits and systems-level interactions, you can acquire a comprehensive understanding of both brain function and dysfunction.

Computational Neuroscience: This field uses mathematical models and computer simulations to comprehend brain function. By merging neuroscience with computational techniques, you can analyze extensive datasets and simulate neural processes to reveal new insights into brain function.

By focusing on one of these areas or a related subfield within neuroscience, you can concentrate your research efforts on making significant discoveries about the brain while minimizing direct patient interaction.

Top 3 Reliable Sources Used in Answering this Question:

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS): NINDS is a reputable research institution that offers valuable insights into various aspects of neuroscience research, including neuroscience subfields and career trajectories for neuroscientists.

Society for Neuroscience (SfN): SfN is a committed organization that aims to advance the field of neuroscience through research, education, and advocacy. Their resources provide insights into different neuroscience specialization areas and career opportunities in the field.

Nature Neuroscience: Nature Neuroscience is a highly respected scientific journal that publishes state-of-the-art research in all areas of neuroscience. By referencing articles from this journal, we ensure that the information provided is supported by high-quality research and authoritative sources within the neuroscience field.

May God bless you!
James Constantine.