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HindustanTimes Mon,22 Sep 2014

When engineering meets neuroscience

Vanita Srivastava, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, July 08, 2013
First Published: 01:04 IST(8/7/2013) | Last Updated: 01:05 IST(8/7/2013)

If you thought that computer and electrical engineers like to study only chip and circuit designs, you are wrong. A team of 21 student engineers, mostly from IITs, are exploring a new field—neuroscience.

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The two week IIT-MIT-Harvard summer school which concluded at IIT Delhi on Saturday, introduced them to the gamut of brain science and allowed them to explore some exciting research topics in neuroscience.

Resonance 2013 Summer School in Neuroscience had lectures on introduction to neuroscience, innovative projects, field visits to AIIMs and Mahajan MRI lab, and a first-hand look at dissection of a sheep brain.

Students were exposed to a plethora of lectures related to neuroscience by MIT and Harvard professors.

They mostly asked about epilepsy, the neural correlation at the time of a near death experience and how does neurons respond to stimulus.

So what does engineering have to do with brain study?

“Engineering meshes with neuroscience in different ways. The two week course has introduced interesting problems in brain science to engineering students. This will, hopefully, induce them to look beyond the traditional job tracks and explore exciting research avenues,” says Dr Pawan Sinha, professor of visual neuroscience, MIT.

He added that not many engineers in India aren’t aware of the challenges that neuroscience offers.

“Neuroscience brings biology and engineering together. Engineers can help create devices that can interface with the brain like artificial retinas for the blind, cochlear implants for the deaf. These are engineering challenges that require an understanding of how nerve cells communicate information,” said Sailesh Conjetici who attended the course.


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