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INDS B.S.: Neurotech Engineering

Fall 2017 Capstone

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My INDS Degree

The course of study I choose to pursue integrates the interdisciplinary fields of Neuroengineering and Neurotechnology to create Neurotech Engineering. Neuroengineering is described by Purdue University as a field that “uses an interdisciplinary engineering approach to examine the function, and manipulate the behavior of, nervous systems using elements of computational biology, neuroscience, electrical engineering, signal processing, chemistry and chemical engineering, and other formerly separate disciplines.” Or, as University of Washington put it, it is the “confluence of neuroscience, device development, computation, and mathematics”. Neurotechnology is discussed by Brown University as “encompass[ing] research to create machines to restore lost brain function and computational and engineering efforts to create machines that replicate higher brain functions. “Additionally, University of Freiburg describes Neurotech as “any artificial means to interact with the workings of the brain.”In other words, the field of Neuroengineering works with technology to explore and manipulate the brain and nervous system, while Neurotechnology deals with technologies that interact with the brain to augment or replace its functions.

I am studying to combine these two fields by integrating UMBC’s majors of computer engineering, psychology, and aspects of mechanical engineering, biology, chemistry, physics, and math. The combination thereof will teach me the core principles of computer technologies and basic engineering, as well as give me a foundation in the basic anatomy and function of the brain, and the mathematical and physical characteristics of both computer and brain.

Post Graduation Plans

Directly after I receive my BS in Interdisciplinary Studies, I plan to continue my education through graduate school working towards my PhD. I will be applying to Neuroengineering, Neurotechnology and Neuroscience programs at Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, Bar Illan University (Gonda Multidisciplinary Brain Research Center), Hebrew University (ELSC program), Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Johns Hopkins University, and MIT.

All of this study will eventually contribute to a career in research of brain-computer interfacing, specifically in the area of direct neural communication between brains. I hope to begin this research at a graduate university, and then either continue researching at the university after graduation, or search for a job to continue my work in the private sector. One possible company to apply to in the private sector is Neuroelectrics, which generally hires post-doctorates and professors.
If initial applications to PhD programs do not work out, I plan to reapply as I continue learning about my field either by applying to the UMBC masters program, independently, or via a job or internship.

Courses In My INDS Degree

Obtain a solid understanding of the fundamentals of Computers and Engineering and the mathematics behind these fields. (CMPE 212, CMPE 306,CMPE 310, CMPE 311, CMPE 323, CMPE 422, CMSC 201, CMSC 203, MATH 221, MATH 225)

Gain a comprehension of the psychological aspects of the brain in order to understand the challenges for interfacing with artificial communication systems. (HONR 200, PSYC 210, PSYC 316, PSYC 317, PSYC 335, PSYC 370, PSYC 375, PSYC 380)

Acquire a background in basic Biological, and Chemical sciences to understand human aspects of machine integration into a biological system. (BIOL 251, BIOL 303, BIOL 307, BIOL 451, CHEM 351)

Gain an understanding of the interdisciplinary process and apply it to my capstone project. (INDS 330H, INDS 430, INDS 480, INDS 490H)