CS and Neuroscience
electrophysiology experiment, EEG, fMRI
Capture Millions of data points
data must be run through rigorous large-scale data analysis algorithms to “find the signal.”
- Familiarize yourself with the data
2 kinds of data:
MRI, which is the bread and butter of non-invasive brain research on humans
Understand how data is collected, will give better grasp what the numbers mean biologically across different kinds of images.
- Get a sense of what kind of questions each kind of data can answer.
two kinds of people that do research in neuroscience:
those with burning biological questions(neuropsychotic disorder)
and those that can’t get enough of the data, methods, and tools.
Brain Scanning Technology:
These days software is used for:
- Data analysis
- Statistical Machine learning
However noone tells how brain works.
Simulation models are also coming up, which are difficult to pull of, but are gaining traction.
- Obama’s Brain Activity Map initiative
- Blue Brain project
How brain stores information
I tried a developmental rodent lab (Dr. Jamie Olavarria at University of Washington), an fMRI / sign language lab (Dr. David Corina at University of Washington), an EEG / attention lab (Dr. Lourdes Anllo-Vento at UC San Diego), and an MEG lab (Dr. Eric Halgren at UC San Diego). These were all great labs; I learned a lot in each, got great recommendations, and sharpened my research focus along the way.
With that said, there are a number of potential ways to go:
Contribute to open-source projects. There are some good neural network simulators that are open source (for example, Brian, Nengo, and others) that you could contribute to. When you're contributing to a project, people are usually much more open to offering their expertise in return :) Participate in experiments at your local university! I wanted to be a graduate student at UC San Diego; I drove there with nowhere to stay and no way to make money. I wound up participating in 3-4 experiments per week--some to get money, all to get a "lay of the land" as to what kinds of research people were doing. In fact, I got my first research job that way--asking questions about the experiment, expressing interest in the topics! Join a lab as a volunteer (or even as a research assistant). There are all sorts of opportunities for this--as a volunteer if you want to explore something completely new, or as a poorly paid employee if you want to contribute through your programming skills. I learned about brain development, fMRI and sign language, and ADHD / attention this way. Join some of the online research communities! There are a few ways to contribute from the outside (e.g. http://EyeWire.org)
List of Useful Softwares:
MATLAB, Python, open source libraries, SciPy
SPM via Matlab, FSL, FreeSurfer, Afni, BrainVoyager
The open-ephys system is an open-source program to record and analyze electrophysiological data, which permits scientists to understand activity in the brain.