Muneerah Patel

Muneerah Patel 500

Degree: MSc Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience 

Now: Research Software Engineer, the University of Sheffield

Muneerah has a background in computer science and so was looking for a masters programme that blended neuroscience, mathematical modelling and neuroimaging to give her a broad overview and a future focus. For this reason the MSc Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience course was the perfect fit and Muneerah is now staying at the university as a Research Software Engineer following the end of her studies.

"I had studied an undergraduate degree in Electronic Engineering with Computing and had subsequently worked as a software developer for two years. However, my final year undergraduate project looking at whether or not EEG signals could be classified based on the genre of music being listened to prompted me to explore applying computational skills to a research driven field.

"I initially chose the MSc Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience course as it included a blend of neuroscience, mathematical modelling and neuroimaging that I was not able to find elsewhere. Having come from a background which did not involve a large amount of any of these, I was keen to get a broader overview into each so that I could decide where I’d like to place any future focus in the field.

"I particularly enjoyed the Computational Neuroscience modules which involved looking at models of the brain from multiple levels of abstraction, from a single neuron with cellular detail to a larger more abstract network of neurons, and postulating both how accurate they were and what functions they could be performing. Alongside this, my project under the supervision and very regular support of Dr Hannes Saal allowed me to explore the ways in which artificial neural networks may tell us something about how the biological visual system works. This in particular gave me a much better understanding not only of the links between artificial and biological neural networks, but also of what approaches to take when carrying out a larger research driven project.

"Having gained the relevant background in neuroscience through the masters, I would like to go forward by building on my technical skills and exploring more closely the areas of research where these can then be applied. Luckily, I have been offered the position of Research Software Engineer at the university, where I will be working alongside a research team to support the software they may need built or maintained, and so will be able to do just that!"