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Thread: Intorduction Essay

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2015

    Red face Intorduction Essay

    Hi there! I'm Thomas, I'm currently 1 year out from an undergraduate degree in neuroscience (I do mostly molecular and systems level work, but have been getting interested in computational neuroscience as of late). Most of my thesis work is looking at 5-HT-mediated anxiety behavior in zebra fish: whether exposure to a 5-HT2Ar agonist will cause increases of decreases in signs of anxiety and whether those changes correlate to the expected down-regulation of that receptor post-exposure.

    My plan is to ultimately get a PhD in neuroscience (I'm not sure which sub-field, but I'm leaning towards systems) and see where I go from there, although that's a long way off, currently.

    Topics in neuroscience that interest me:

    The sense of self
    Pattern recognition
    Self-referential information processing
    The neural substrates of logic and mathematics
    Obsessive-compulsive disorder (particularly, the phenomena of intrusive thoughts - as an OCD sufferer myself, this is of particular importance to me)
    Mystical experiences
    Anything and everything to do with psychedelics.
    Error detection

    More specific topics include:

    Whatever's going on in the Claustrum
    The role of 5-HT2Ar/mGlur2 heterodimers in Layer 5 of the cerebral cortex
    Error detection in the cingulate cortex and it's relationship to OCD
    Ditto for the disgust related activity of the insula.
    Internal/External boundary processing in the temporal and parietal lobes.
    5-HT2A-mediated hippocampal neurogenesis & and it's relationship to learning.
    The differences in intracellular signalling and subsequent gene expression between psychoactive and nonpsychoactive 5-HT2Ar agonists.
    Why kappa-opioid receptors alter perception and consciousness (see the above point about the claustrum)
    The role of endogenous 5-HT2Ar agonists (I have theories about this)
    The sigma-1 receptor & well-being.

    In my non-neuroscience related time, I like circus arts (I'm a juggler, poi spinner, fire eater/breather, and magician), as well as white-water kayaking, and radical left-wing political theory.

    Glad to be here

  2. #2


    Welcome to the forum

  3. #3
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2015
    South Western Ontario


    Hi Thomas, I'm new to the forum myself, but I've noticed what looks like a pattern of young people like yourself asking questions and while lots of members read those questions few answers seem forthcoming. My own investigations started with the same kind of naive faith that others knew what was going on. After thirty-five or so years I'm convinced that the difficulty resides in our metaphysical assumptions. While claiming to be scientific materialists neuroscientists are hobbled by the culturally pervasive assumption that reality can be divided into physical and spiritual or ideal parts. Philosophers call this belief dualism or idealism and it seems to have been sourced in ancient religions. In short, we've been approaching this problem from the wrong end. Only when we accept that knowledge is a physical thing made up of mass and energy that can be picked up with tweezers and examined will we understand that our minds are a multi-organ, homeostatic collaboration. Learned knowledge is just the software that operates sense organs, evaluative organs and muscles in a synergy that controls our behavior. By the way, thought seems to be a verbal subset of behavior. My current work in progress can be read at if you're interested. Good luck and best regards, Dave

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