cwasson Posted December 15, 2013 Share Posted December 15, 2013 With the myriad of growth in the popularity in the study of the human brain, with research ventures such as The Human Brain Project in Europe and The BRAIN Initiative in the USA, there has never been a more an exciting time to be a neuroscientist. Even more, with breakthrough discoveries being made in Canada on a daily basis, there has never been a better time to pursue neurobiological research at a Canadian university. All being said, the choice to pursue a career in neuroscience research, at this climate of exciting discovery, was perhaps the easiest decision I have ever made. I vividly remember becoming fascinated with the subject in my second year of undergrad in my introduction to cognitive and behavioural neuroscience course. There I learned the fundamentals in the study of the human brain and found that I was beyond fascinated with the subject matter— I was hooked. From then on, I sought out opportunities to further grow my understanding of neuroscientific concepts and research skills. For my independent study project under Dr. X, I studied the effects of exogenous corticosterone administration on the myelination of the avian song control system. During this experiment, I was able to see the project though from its very inception, to the write- up of the final results, and to the final submission towards the prospect of publication. By undertaking this project I was able to hone my skills as a researcher and learn a plethora of useful techniques, such as immunohistochemical staining, working with animal models, cryosectioning, slide mounting, and microscopy skills, to name a few. In addition to my independent research, I was able to take an advanced level course under the direction of Dr. Y in research techniques in behavioural neuroscience. This unique opportunity enabled me to further develop my skills as a researcher by training me on how to write advanced scientific research papers, purposefully dissect a brain into various levels of observation, and extended my ability to work with rats as an animal model. My research background as well as my academic background has helped shape my scientific interests. Broadly speaking, my true passion lies in behavioural neuroscience. While I certainly would consider doing research strictly in cellular/molecular neurobiology, I find the underlying neurobiological underpinnings and how they contribute to the behavioural outcomes ultimately more fascinating. Furthermore, I am interested in three main ideas of neuroscientific research: neuroendocrinology/sexuality, the neuroscience of addiction/reward, and the neuromodulation of pain. Indeed, my interest was captured by those themes whilst writing course-based research papers. The first paper written, a research proposal, suggests administration of exogenous oxytocin reduces homonegativity in highly homophobic individuals. This paper sparked my interest in neuroendocrinology/sexuality. Further, the second paper, a literature review entitled, ‘The Painful Truth: A Comprehensive Review of Pain and Pain Management,’ specifically described the main theories of pain, therapeutic interventions used to treat pain, as well as some of the major limitations incurred during the study of pain. These past experiences have ultimately culminated in my decision to pursue an academic career in neuroscience; however, my first step to obtain my idealized career is to find a Graduate program that will allow me to pursue my passion. I hope to attend the Neuroscience Graduate Program at Z University because of the national and international recognition of the program, the quality of education available, the high standards for scientific investigation, and the opportunity to produce highly publishable research. Furthermore, whilst performing my search for graduate programs, I looked at the quality mentorship and the opportunities to work in a collaborative and friendly setting— Z University meets this criteria. Moreover, the labs at Z University align with my research interests. I am particularly interested in working with either, Dr. M, who studies addiction and pain using rats as animal models; Dr. R, who researches reward-like mechanisms in learning; or Dr. C, who investigates the neural basis of sexual function as well as dysfunction. The opportunity to work in these labs, among others related to my interests, would further enrich my academic conquests and allow me to contribute to the field by publishing exciting and novel research, that I would be particularly proud of. All being said, the Graduate Program in Neuroscience at Z University gives students an exciting opportunity to become true innovators in the field. With an MSc from the Neuroscience Graduate Program I believe that I will gain professional skills in research that will make me competitive as a PhD applicant. In addition, I believe that this program can equipment me with the tools that will allow me to independently think, further formulate contributory novel ideas to the world, but most of all, allow me to become a modern pioneer in the field of neuroscience. I wish to make breakthroughs as a Canadian neuroscientist much like Dr. Donald Hebb— after all, he taught at Z. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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