What is a Neuroscientist? What does a neuroscientist do?

What is a Neuroscientist? What does a neuroscientist do?

A neuroscientist or neurobiologist is a scientist who has specialized knowledge in the field of neuroscience, the branch of biology that deals with the physiology, biochemistry, psychology, anatomy, and molecular biology of neurons and neural circuits and in particular their association with behavior and learning.

Neuroscientists typically work as researchers in a college, university, government agency, or private industry. In research-oriented careers, neuroscientists typically spend their time designing and performing scientific experiments that contribute to the understanding of the nervous system and its function. They can engage in fundamental or applied research. Basic research seeks to add information to our current understanding of the nervous system, while applied research seeks to address a specific problem, such as developing a treatment for a neurological disorder. Biomedically oriented neuroscientists typically engage in applied research. Neuroscientists also have a number of career opportunities outside of research, including careers in industry, science writing, government program management, science promotion, and education. These people most often hold a doctorate in science, but can also hold a master’s degree. Neuroscientists Day is celebrated on August 13.

Job Overview

job description

Neuroscientists primarily focus on the study and research of the nervous system. The nervous system is made up of the brain, spinal cord and nerve cells. Nervous system studies can focus on the cellular level, as in ion channel studies, or conversely can focus on a systemic level as in behavioral or cognitive studies. A significant portion of nervous system studies is devoted to understanding diseases that affect the nervous system, such as multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s, and Lou Gehrig’s. Research usually takes place in private, government and public research institutions and universities. 

Some common tasks of neuroscientists are:

  • Develop experiences and lead groups of people in support roles
  • Conduct theoretical and computational neural data analyzes
  • Research and development of new treatments for neurological disorders
  • Work with physicians to perform experimental studies of new drugs on consenting patients
  • Follow safety and hygiene procedures and guidelines
  • Dissection of experimental specimens

What does a neuroscientist do?

The main focus of neuroscientists is on the brain, its functions in the body and its impacts on the behavioral and cognitive functions. They not only observe the normal functions of the nervous system, but also diagnose several disorders related to the human nervous system such as neurologic, psychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders in humans. They are very curious about brain evolution, experimentation, functioning and regulation.

What does a neuroscientist do?

Neuroscientist salary

The overall median salary for neuroscientists in the United States was $79,940 in May 2014. Neuroscientists are usually full-time employees. Below, the median salaries of common workplaces in the United States are shown.

  • Common workplaces           =   Median annual salary
  • Colleges and universities =   58 140 $
  • Hospitals                             =   73 590 $
  • Laboratories                     =  82 700 $
  • Research and development =  90 200 $
  • Pharmaceutical                   =  150 000 $

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Working environment

Neuroscientists research and study the biological and psychological aspects of the nervous system. After neuroscientists complete their postdoctoral programs, 39% do more doctoral work, while 36% take on faculty jobs. Neuroscientists use a wide range of mathematical methods, computer programs, biochemical approaches, and imaging techniques such as magnetic resonance imaging, computed tomography angiography, and diffusion tensor imaging.[9] Imaging techniques allow scientists to observe physical changes in the brain as signals occur. Neuroscientists can also belong to several different neuroscience organizations where they can publish and read different research topics.

Employment prospects

Neuroscience expects job growth of about 8% from 2014 to 2024, a considerably average job growth rate compared to other professions. Factors leading to this growth include an aging population, new discoveries leading to new areas of research, and increasing drug use. Government funding for research will also continue to influence demand for this specialty. 

Neuroscientists typically enroll in a four-year undergraduate program and then move on to a doctoral program for graduate study. After completing their graduate studies, neuroscientists can continue to do postdoctoral work to gain more laboratory experience and explore new laboratory methods. During their undergraduate years, neuroscientists typically take courses in physics and life sciences to gain a grounding in the field of research. Typical undergraduate majors include biology, behavioral neuroscience, and cognitive neuroscience. 

Many colleges and universities now have doctoral training programs in neuroscience, often with divisions between cognitive, cellular and molecular, computational, and systems neuroscience.

Education

Education of neuroscientists

Neuroscientists typically enroll in a four-year undergraduate program and then move on to a doctoral program for graduate study. After completing their graduate studies, neuroscientists can continue to do postdoctoral work to gain more laboratory experience and explore new laboratory methods. During their undergraduate years, neuroscientists typically take courses in physics and life sciences to gain a grounding in the field of research. Typical undergraduate majors include biology, behavioral neuroscience, and cognitive neuroscience.

Many colleges and universities now have doctoral training programs in neuroscience, often with divisions between cognitive, cellular and molecular, computational, and systems neuroscience.

Interdisciplinary fields

Neuroscience has a unique perspective in that it can be applied across a wide range of disciplines, and therefore the areas in which neuroscientists work vary. Neuroscientists can study topics ranging from the large hemispheres of the brain to neurotransmitters and synapses occurring in neurons at a micro level. Some fields that combine psychology and neurobiology include cognitive neuroscience and behavioral neuroscience. Cognitive neuroscientists study human consciousness, particularly the brain, and how it can be viewed through the lens of biochemical and biophysical processes. Behavioral neuroscience encompasses the entire nervous system, environment, and brain. These areas show us aspects of motivation, learning, and motor skills along with many others. Computational neuroscience uses mathematical models to understand how the brain processes information.

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How to become a cognitive neuroscientist?

Cognitive neuroscientists are very important in the understanding of the human mind and cognitive skills. They do research on the mind and deal according to the prevailed situation. 

Following are some requirements to become a cognitive neuroscientist:

  • A four year bachelor’s degree 
  • 2 year master’s degree
  • 2-4 year a PHD or PsyD

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