Potentializing a new generation of NeuroMat researchers

The Research, Innovation and Dissemination Center for Neuromathematics (RIDC NeuroMat) has contributed decisively to the onset of a new generation of researchers. Fifty-five young researchers have been trained at NeuroMat since its inception, in 2013.

The team of young researchers the RIDC NeuroMat has trained includes: 10 technical training fellows, 13 postdoctoral researchers, 18 PhD candidates, 7 Master students and 7 scientific journalism fellows. These researchers have worked on probability theory, statistics, simulations, software development, neurobiology and dissemination.

Ludmila Brochini is a NeuroMat postdoctoral researcher and a leading young scientist in the team. She has started a project in 2015-2016 to perform numerical experimentation and mean field calculations in a special case of a model of interacting neurons proposed by Galves and Löcherbach in 2013. This work has led to a publication, that shows how the system undergoes phase transitions and that has proposed a novel self organization mechanism for a large neuronal network. Ongoing work by Brochini revolves around the study the emergence of near critical oscillations in this model.

Brochini has participated in workshops and trainings set up within NeuroMat. For instance, she presented in 2015 at the 1st NeuroMat Young Researchers Workshop, the Second NeuroMat workshop in 2016 and the workshop Random Structures in the Brain in 2017.

"Being part of NeuroMat has provided me with a new perspective regarding how scientific research is developed in a large and interdisciplinary research center. I see how it is challenging to do innovative research in mathematics and statistics while being committed to relevant questions in neurobiology. I learned that this is accomplished by setting smart research goals and establishing successful collaborations with top tier scientists committed to the project," said Brochini.

Training and career

The RIDC NeuroMat has held training seminars and schools, besides scientific meetings and workshops, as a means of fostering the new generation of researchers. An example of this is the Latin American School on Computational Neuroscience.

NeuroMat young researchers have also been involved in longer term scientific missions abroad. Students have gone to residencies at universities in France, Italy and the United States.

Constant attention to boosting the contributions of young scholars is to some extent the fulfillment of the RIDC model at its best. According to FAPESP, an expectation of RIDCs is that they bring to their team "young researchers with documented potential for research".

What has attracted students to engaging with NeuroMat has been its openness to various scientific profiles, which has created --according to Brochini-- an integrated working environment and has exposed students to experiencing more widely how science is done, particularly abroad. NeuroMat young researchers have had positions at universities such as the University of São Paulo, the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte.

This piece is part of NeuroMat's Newsletter #55. Read more here

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