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Neuroscientist

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At a Glance... header image

Researches how the nervous system behaves; develops pharmaceuticals for neurological disorders.


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Neuroscientists study the development and function of the nervous system, which includes the brain, the spinal cord, and nerve cells throughout the body. 

Neuroscientists conduct research on patients and on laboratory animals including rats and mice. (Neurologists, on the other hand, are practicing physicians who diagnose and treat neurological diseases in humans).

They may specialise in one part of the nervous system, such as neurotransmitters, or focus their research on specific behaviors, such as psychiatric disorders.

Illnesses based in the nervous system include Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, and Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

Neuroscientists typically take part in publicly funded research projects at universities, research institutes, or government facilities.

The are also engaged in applied research for private industry, such as the development of new pharmaceutical treatments or other biotechnology products.

Some treat patients as licensed neurosurgeons and neurologists.

Neuroscientists typically perform research in offices or laboratories. Some work in clinics and hospitals to evaluate, diagnose, and treat patients.

Neuroscientists begin experiments by preparing tissue and cell samples. They make use of antibodies, dyes, and gene probes to identify different components of the nervous system. Tools and equipment used to monitor brain and nerve activity include magnetic resonance imagers and microelectrodes. Some use computers to create nervous system models, while others study the simplified nervous system of insects to better isolate certain behaviors.


Personal Qualitiesheader image

It is essential for Neuroscientists to have good communication skills, patience and the ability to work within a team of health care specialists. 

An analytical mindset and good problem solving skills are key in this line of work.

Mathematical and computational skillsets are crucial as well as attention to detail in your research and the ability to work to a high level of accuracy.


Entry Routesheader image

A Neuroscientist may or may not have a degree in medicine. They may complete a Bachelor's Degree in neuroscience or in a biological science to prepare for graduate studies and research. Relevant subject areas include computer science, cognitive science, mathematics, and physics.

Those wishing to purse clinical work must also have completed Degree in Medicine.

In addition to neuroscience, graduates may choose advanced degree fields in such areas as neurobiology or pharmacology.

Permanent research positions in neuroscience commonly require postdoctoral fellowships to gain laboratory experience.

Last Updated: October, 2014


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Organisation: Neuroscience Ireland
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Organisation: Science Foundation Ireland
Address: Wilton Park House, Wilton Place, Dublin, 2
Tel: 01 - 607 3200
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Organisation: Smart Futures
Address: Discover Science & Engineering, Wilton Park House, Wilton Place, Dublin, 2
Tel: (01) 607 3171
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