graduate programs in neuroscience/neurosensory/cybernetics

John Anderson anderson at CSHL.ORG
Fri Sep 6 21:15:39 EST 1991

>   I'm looking for a university that has a research group studying how
>the brain interprets sensory input, particularly from the eyes.  I'm
>interested in exploring the possibilities for substituting electrical
>signals in place of the nerve impulses when these are blocked (for
>instance, when the optic nerve is severed or the eye is damaged.)  I'm
>also interested in stimulation of muscles after the spinal cord has
>been severed.  I guess you could call this cybernetics, although I'm
>hesitant because I don't expect the research to have advanced far
>enough to produce the kind of results usually associated with the
>idea.  But I guess the kind of stuff I'm looking for is the type of
>research that will eventually lead to the artificial eyes, limbs, or
>chips-in-the-head that all the sci-fi guys like to write about.  
>   Anyway, I'm assuming this kind of research is very
>cross-disciplinary because I'm not a biology major (although I have a
>strong interest in it) and I'm not sure I could get into a medical PhD
>program unless I could convince them I had something to contribute.  I
>have no idea where to look for this kind of stuff.  Is it in
>neuroscience or something else, like biophysics.  I occasionally see
>hints of this kind of stuff in descriptions of EE or comp. sci.

I'm not sure if they have any research like this going on, but you
should check out the Committee on Higher Degrees in Biophysics at
Harvard.  It accepts people from a very broad range of backgrounds (at
least it did when I was accepted there with a BS in physics and
essentially no biology experience), and offers a very wide range of
opportunities from pure biology to theoretical chemistry.  And it
might offer the opportunity to work in the neuroscience labs at
Harvard Medical School where Hubel and Wiesel did their work on
vision, and where Hubel still works.


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