Neuroscience

The Society for Neuro Science has this as its theme line – Advancing the Understanding of the Brain and the Nervous System, which should give you a good idea of what is involved in the subject (https://www.sfn.org/). The Guardian newspaper covers the subject quite in detail (https://www.theguardian.com/science/neuroscience). An excellent resource is http://neurosciencenews.com/

There is an excellent discussion on ‘How much do we really know about the brain?’ in the Frontline magazine among four researchers which can be read at (https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/teenbrain/work/how.html).

Most impactful research

A recent article titled ‘Most impactful neuroscience research’, July 10, 2017, refers to a “study of the 100 most-cited neuroscience articles (which) has revealed that 78 of these papers cover five topics, including neurological disorders, the prefrontal cortex, brain connectivity, brain mapping and methodology studies. The study allows scientists, policy-makers and investors to quickly identify the most-cited articles and impactful research in neuroscience. Neuroscience research aims to understand neural structure and function, and how this relates to behavior, normal physiological processes and disease. The discipline is growing rapidly, with scientists publishing more articles each year. As researchers learn more and develop new techniques, the number of research topics grows, and it can be difficult to get a handle on the field as a whole” (https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/07/170721101317.htm). The article quotes Andy Wai Kan Yeung of the University of Hong Kong, lead author on the study, who points out that “it can be difficult for newcomers to the neuroscience field or clinicians to identify the major research topics”. This study was recently published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. Yeung and colleagues set out to identify and analyze the 100 top-cited (referenced by other articles) papers in neuroscience. The article goes on to quote Yeung who says, “Hopefully this study will encourage researchers to look at the identified articles and build on this impactful work”. (https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/07/170721101317.htm)

To give an idea of the research topics, read https://www.psychologytoday.com/topics/neuroscience. A very different way of looking at the subject is from the medical field. “Neuroscience describes the scientific study of the mechanics of the central nervous system such as its structure, function, genetics and physiology as well as how this can be applied to understand diseases of the nervous system. Neurology is a specialized area of medicine that concerns disorders and diseases of the nervous system ranging from Alzheimer’s disease through to infection and personality disorders. Neurology involves diagnosing and treating conditions of the central, peripheral and autonomic nervous systems. This category includes news on nervous system disorders and discoveries, research related to the brain, memory and how we perceive the environment”. (https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/categories/neurology)

Neuroscience in universities

The Neuroscience Institute, New York University, observes that “Since its inception, the field has attracted multidisciplinary approaches to decipher how we develop finely tuned nervous systems that allow us to perceive and interact with our surroundings and learn from and remember our experiences. Increasingly, these insights also inform translational research on a wide variety of neurological disorders, such as Alzheimer’s Disease, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, addiction, mood disorders, and autism spectrum disorders” (Neuroscience Institute, NYU, https://med.nyu.edu/neuroscience/what-we-do/areas-research-basic-clinical)

For those who consider rankings, it might be useful to take a look at https://www.usnews.com/education/best-global-universities/slideshows/see-the-top-10-global-universities-for-neuroscience-and-behavior.

The School of Medicine, University of San Diego, brings together clinical neurologists and basic scientists, who “collaborate in the diagnosis, management, and research of neurodegenerative diseases, especially Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, Huntington’s disease, Down syndrome, stroke, epilepsy, neuromuscular disorders such as ALS, metabolic disorders, and neuro-developmental disorders, including autism” (https://neurosciences.ucsd.edu/research/Pages/default.aspx).

Neuroscience at Cambridge

At Cambridge University, “Neuroscience research is undertaken in virtually every department of the School of Biological Sciences and in more than half of the Departments of the School of Clinical Medicine. In addition to this, related research is carried out in all of the other Schools of the University, with principal investigators spanning departments as diverse as Biological Anthropology, Computer Science, Economics, Engineering, Physics, and Social & Political Science” (http://www.neuroscience.cam.ac.uk/resources/researchers/). Cambridge University has woven its neuroscience research around five core themes: Developmental Neuroscience; Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience; Systems and Computational Neuroscience; Cognitive and Behavioural Neuroscience (http://www.neuroscience.cam.ac.uk/research/themes/).

The areas of interest at The Department of Neuroscience, Brown University, “include neural plasticity, information processing, and neuronal and synaptic functions, particularly as they relate to development, sensory perception, motor behavior, and cognition” (https://www.brown.edu/academics/neuroscience/). Neuroscience at Chicago spans “a diverse range of topics and techniques from molecules and cells to neural circuits and behavior” (http://neuroscience.uchicago.edu/). At Princeton, it says, “faculty with research interests in neuroscience can be found in many departments, including Applied Math, Chemistry, Computer Science, Engineering, Molecular Biology, Physics, Philosophy and Psychology”, (https://pni.princeton.edu/).

Oxford Neuroscience has a body of researchers whose work ranges across a variety of subjects (https://www.neuroscience.ox.ac.uk/research-directory). The Centre for Neuroscience at McGill University is supported by multiple grants http://www.mcgill.ca/crn/. Edinburg Neuroscience is part of its College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, whose “major strategic goal has been to bring together Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience to target our basic and translational research on two of the key challenges for 21st century Neuroscience: how does the human brain develop and function across the lifespan, and how can it be protected and repaired?”, (https://www.ed.ac.uk/medicine-vet-medicine/research/institutes-and-centres/neuroscience).

The Institute of Neuroscience at The University of Barcelona “gathers researchers aiming to understand the central nervous system in all the analysis levels, from the biology of the neuron, through the formation of neural circuits, to the global function of the brain, which is the basis of cognition and behavior” (http://www.ub.edu/web/ub/en/recerca_innovacio/recerca_a_la_UB/instituts/institutspropis/neurociencies.html). The University of Gothenberg, Sweden, has research interests in psychiatry, clinical neuroscience and neurochemistry (https://www.gu.se/english/research/find-our-researchers/?subjectId=3010502). There is a 2011 study which ranks the top European institutions in neuroscience and behavior (https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/top-european-institutions-in-neuroscience-and-behaviour/414880.article).

Neuroscience research at the University of Otago, New Zealand, is divided between The Brain Health Research Centre and The Centre for Neuroendoctrinology (http://www.otago.ac.nz/neuroscience/research/). Melbourne Neuroscience Institute at The University of Melbourne emphasizes collaboration and has an advisory board drawn from both private and public sectors (http://neuroscience.unimelb.edu.au/about/advisory-board). The neuroscience and behavioural disorders research programme at the Duke-NUS Medical School “is focused on understanding the structure and function of the nervous system, and the neural mechanisms underlying human neurological, psychiatric and ophthalmological disorders”. It “actively collaborates with clinical faculty at Singapore General Hospital, National Neuroscience Institute (NNI), Institute of Mental Health and Singapore Eye Research Centre” (https://www.duke-nus.edu.sg/research/signature-research-programmes/neuroscience-behavioral-disorders). The Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology graduate University has a really different set of research interests including developing algorithms for artificial intelligence and cure for brain cancer (https://www.oist.jp/fields-research/neuroscience).

The role of mathematics and theory in understanding the brain

Frontiers magazine has examined this issue and sought submissions (now closed). Asking ‘Why is mathematics critical to the study of neuroscience?’, it says that “For a complex system such as the brain we are not going to understand it as a system by considering the details of one protein or ion channel at a time. Experiments in isolation, such as studying individual mechanisms or observational phenomena, provide important ‘pieces’ towards understanding the brain, but an appropriate theoretical framework must be used to provide context. It can be argued that there are insufficient appropriate theoretical frameworks to understand the brain and its emergent properties. However, theory in an empirical science should be informed by data provided by experiments, both for the purposes of validation and in order to provide real world predictions for the development of further theory. Over abstraction and simplification of cellular and physiological processes can lead to theoretical results of limited relevance or impact because they cannot be related back to how the real brain works. Lastly, brute force analyses and numerical simulations of large data sets on their own do not necessarily guarantee mechanistic or deep insights into function. While there is a continuing explosion of data in neuroscience and a lot of descriptive quantitative analysis and modeling, there are limited theoretical frameworks and structures that provide deep insights into how the brain works”.

(https://www.frontiersin.org/research-topics/1902/the-role-of-mathematics-and-theory-in-understanding-the-brain)

Researchers at The Mischer Neuroscience Institute and the McGovern Medical School at UT Health are engaged in studying various problem areas (along with clinical trials) such as Brain tumors, Cerebrovascular, Neuro-Oncology, Neurotrauma, Neurodegenerative, Spine and Nerve, Neurorehabilitation, and others (http://neuro.memorialhermann.org/research/).

 Neuroscience

The Society for Neuro Science has this as its theme line – Advancing the Understanding of the Brain and the Nervous System, which should give you a good idea of what is involved in the subject (https://www.sfn.org/). The Guardian newspaper covers the subject quite in detail (https://www.theguardian.com/science/neuroscience). An excellent resource is http://neurosciencenews.com/

There is an excellent discussion on ‘How much do we really know about the brain?’ in the Frontline magazine among four researchers which can be read at (https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/teenbrain/work/how.html).

Most impactful research

A recent article titled ‘Most impactful neuroscience research’, July 10, 2017, refers to a “study of the 100 most-cited neuroscience articles (which) has revealed that 78 of these papers cover five topics, including neurological disorders, the prefrontal cortex, brain connectivity, brain mapping and methodology studies. The study allows scientists, policy-makers and investors to quickly identify the most-cited articles and impactful research in neuroscience. Neuroscience research aims to understand neural structure and function, and how this relates to behavior, normal physiological processes and disease. The discipline is growing rapidly, with scientists publishing more articles each year. As researchers learn more and develop new techniques, the number of research topics grows, and it can be difficult to get a handle on the field as a whole” (https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/07/170721101317.htm). The article quotes Andy Wai Kan Yeung of the University of Hong Kong, lead author on the study, who points out that “it can be difficult for newcomers to the neuroscience field or clinicians to identify the major research topics”. This study was recently published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. Yeung and colleagues set out to identify and analyze the 100 top-cited (referenced by other articles) papers in neuroscience. The article goes on to quote Yeung who says, “Hopefully this study will encourage researchers to look at the identified articles and build on this impactful work”. (https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/07/170721101317.htm)

To give an idea of the research topics, read https://www.psychologytoday.com/topics/neuroscience. A very different way of looking at the subject is from the medical field. “Neuroscience describes the scientific study of the mechanics of the central nervous system such as its structure, function, genetics and physiology as well as how this can be applied to understand diseases of the nervous system. Neurology is a specialized area of medicine that concerns disorders and diseases of the nervous system ranging from Alzheimer’s disease through to infection and personality disorders. Neurology involves diagnosing and treating conditions of the central, peripheral and autonomic nervous systems. This category includes news on nervous system disorders and discoveries, research related to the brain, memory and how we perceive the environment”. (https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/categories/neurology)

Neuroscience in universities

The Neuroscience Institute, New York University, observes that “Since its inception, the field has attracted multidisciplinary approaches to decipher how we develop finely tuned nervous systems that allow us to perceive and interact with our surroundings and learn from and remember our experiences. Increasingly, these insights also inform translational research on a wide variety of neurological disorders, such as Alzheimer’s Disease, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, addiction, mood disorders, and autism spectrum disorders” (Neuroscience Institute, NYU, https://med.nyu.edu/neuroscience/what-we-do/areas-research-basic-clinical)

For those who consider rankings, it might be useful to take a look at https://www.usnews.com/education/best-global-universities/slideshows/see-the-top-10-global-universities-for-neuroscience-and-behavior.

The School of Medicine, University of San Diego, brings together clinical neurologists and basic scientists, who “collaborate in the diagnosis, management, and research of neurodegenerative diseases, especially Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, Huntington’s disease, Down syndrome, stroke, epilepsy, neuromuscular disorders such as ALS, metabolic disorders, and neuro-developmental disorders, including autism” (https://neurosciences.ucsd.edu/research/Pages/default.aspx).

Neuroscience at Cambridge

At Cambridge University, “Neuroscience research is undertaken in virtually every department of the School of Biological Sciences and in more than half of the Departments of the School of Clinical Medicine. In addition to this, related research is carried out in all of the other Schools of the University, with principal investigators spanning departments as diverse as Biological Anthropology, Computer Science, Economics, Engineering, Physics, and Social & Political Science” (http://www.neuroscience.cam.ac.uk/resources/researchers/). Cambridge University has woven its neuroscience research around five core themes: Developmental Neuroscience; Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience; Systems and Computational Neuroscience; Cognitive and Behavioural Neuroscience (http://www.neuroscience.cam.ac.uk/research/themes/).

The areas of interest at The Department of Neuroscience, Brown University, “include neural plasticity, information processing, and neuronal and synaptic functions, particularly as they relate to development, sensory perception, motor behavior, and cognition” (https://www.brown.edu/academics/neuroscience/). Neuroscience at Chicago spans “a diverse range of topics and techniques from molecules and cells to neural circuits and behavior” (http://neuroscience.uchicago.edu/). At Princeton, it says, “faculty with research interests in neuroscience can be found in many departments, including Applied Math, Chemistry, Computer Science, Engineering, Molecular Biology, Physics, Philosophy and Psychology”, (https://pni.princeton.edu/).

Oxford Neuroscience has a body of researchers whose work ranges across a variety of subjects (https://www.neuroscience.ox.ac.uk/research-directory). The Centre for Neuroscience at McGill University is supported by multiple grants http://www.mcgill.ca/crn/. Edinburg Neuroscience is part of its College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, whose “major strategic goal has been to bring together Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience to target our basic and translational research on two of the key challenges for 21st century Neuroscience: how does the human brain develop and function across the lifespan, and how can it be protected and repaired?”, (https://www.ed.ac.uk/medicine-vet-medicine/research/institutes-and-centres/neuroscience).

The Institute of Neuroscience at The University of Barcelona “gathers researchers aiming to understand the central nervous system in all the analysis levels, from the biology of the neuron, through the formation of neural circuits, to the global function of the brain, which is the basis of cognition and behavior” (http://www.ub.edu/web/ub/en/recerca_innovacio/recerca_a_la_UB/instituts/institutspropis/neurociencies.html). The University of Gothenberg, Sweden, has research interests in psychiatry, clinical neuroscience and neurochemistry (https://www.gu.se/english/research/find-our-researchers/?subjectId=3010502). There is a 2011 study which ranks the top European institutions in neuroscience and behavior (https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/top-european-institutions-in-neuroscience-and-behaviour/414880.article).

Neuroscience research at the University of Otago, New Zealand, is divided between The Brain Health Research Centre and The Centre for Neuroendoctrinology (http://www.otago.ac.nz/neuroscience/research/). Melbourne Neuroscience Institute at The University of Melbourne emphasizes collaboration and has an advisory board drawn from both private and public sectors (http://neuroscience.unimelb.edu.au/about/advisory-board). The neuroscience and behavioural disorders research programme at the Duke-NUS Medical School “is focused on understanding the structure and function of the nervous system, and the neural mechanisms underlying human neurological, psychiatric and ophthalmological disorders”. It “actively collaborates with clinical faculty at Singapore General Hospital, National Neuroscience Institute (NNI), Institute of Mental Health and Singapore Eye Research Centre” (https://www.duke-nus.edu.sg/research/signature-research-programmes/neuroscience-behavioral-disorders). The Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology graduate University has a really different set of research interests including developing algorithms for artificial intelligence and cure for brain cancer (https://www.oist.jp/fields-research/neuroscience).

The role of mathematics and theory in understanding the brain

Frontiers magazine has examined this issue and sought submissions (now closed). Asking ‘Why is mathematics critical to the study of neuroscience?’, it says that “For a complex system such as the brain we are not going to understand it as a system by considering the details of one protein or ion channel at a time. Experiments in isolation, such as studying individual mechanisms or observational phenomena, provide important ‘pieces’ towards understanding the brain, but an appropriate theoretical framework must be used to provide context. It can be argued that there are insufficient appropriate theoretical frameworks to understand the brain and its emergent properties. However, theory in an empirical science should be informed by data provided by experiments, both for the purposes of validation and in order to provide real world predictions for the development of further theory. Over abstraction and simplification of cellular and physiological processes can lead to theoretical results of limited relevance or impact because they cannot be related back to how the real brain works. Lastly, brute force analyses and numerical simulations of large data sets on their own do not necessarily guarantee mechanistic or deep insights into function. While there is a continuing explosion of data in neuroscience and a lot of descriptive quantitative analysis and modeling, there are limited theoretical frameworks and structures that provide deep insights into how the brain works”.

(https://www.frontiersin.org/research-topics/1902/the-role-of-mathematics-and-theory-in-understanding-the-brain)

Researchers at The Mischer Neuroscience Institute and the McGovern Medical School at UT Health are engaged in studying various problem areas (along with clinical trials) such as Brain tumors, Cerebrovascular, Neuro-Oncology, Neurotrauma, Neurodegenerative, Spine and Nerve, Neurorehabilitation, and others (http://neuro.memorialhermann.org/research/).

 

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