Within engineering there are a huge number of specific fields which you could look to go into, within those fields there are even more highly specific aspects which you could choose, depending on your skills and your passion. Today we are going to look into a very important and very specialized field of biomedical engineering, neuroengineering. Alongside me is Dr. Curtis Cripe, an expert in neuroengineering and the man who is going to talk us through the fundamentals of what neuroengineering is all about.
To offer a little bit of background first, neuroengineering is an aspect of biomedical engineering that looks into the relationship of neurons in the body and the way in which neurons react and behave in the brain and around the body’s neuron systems. Through the use of this branch of engineering, we are able to find new treatments and new ways of approaching neurological topics, which have a huge impact on how hospitals go about their job, and how much better we can understand the human body.
The first fundamental of neuroengineering is neuroscience, this is the study of the messages which are sent around the body that influence sense, thought and movements. Neurscience looks into how the neurons are sent around the body through specialized cells and tissues, which create pathways for these messages to be sent around the body. Neuroscience focusses heavily on the brain and the central nervous system at the base of the spine, seeking ways to better understand the relationship that these parts of the body have with the neurons inside the body.
Broadly speaking, engineering within neuroscience is about utilizing quantitive methods and tools to better understand how these vastly complex neural systems operate, and what we can do to fix issues which arise within them. Whereas neuroscience will focus purely on the relationships and behavior of neurons, the engineering side of it will look at ways in which they react to various types of signals in the body, and how we can break down these neurons to understand their makeup and how they are influenced by their environment. Engineering in this field scratches beneath the surface of a neural system, and seeks to find the heart of its operations and how they are influenced. Engineers will look at this from a scientific and mathematical perspective in order to support neuroscience with their studies and discoveries.
Becoming a Neuroengineer
To become a neuroengineer you will have to specialize in the sciences throughout college, particularly biology, as well as doing well in mathematics. Your path will likely be to study biomedicine at college before majoring in neuroengineering. Only a very elect few people are able to take on a career such as this, given the high level of intelligence that is required. If you have the intelligence however, this is a thoroughly rewarding job.