Tyler Mari

Tyler Mari 500Degree: MSc Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience 

Now: PhD student at the University of Liverpool

Tyler is about to begin a PhD at the University of Liverpool exploring neural and associative learning mechanisms of pain and believes that the skills and knowledge he gained during his MSc Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience studies were essential for being awarded this position.

“After completing my undergraduate in Psychology, I wanted to refine my experience relating to Cognitive Neuroscience. There were several reasons why I selected this course, first of which was the impression I was left with after attending the open day. I got the feeling that the staff were very positive, and it was clear that there was the personal touch to this course.

“The course is an excellent training course for anyone wishing to pursue a PhD. There is an excellent balance of guided and individual learning, which is core to the transition to PhD study. In addition to this, the MSc in Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience allows for many core skills to be developed that are extremely desirable for any potential PhD supervisor. For example, I particularly found that the mathematical modelling and research skills module allowed me to really impress during PhD interviews. Being able to talk about the different tasks we had to implement such as modelling a visual neuron and implementing machine learning algorithms was extremely beneficial. The course provides you with a wide range of skills that really allow you to apply yourself into many different aspects of neuroscience, which is essential for career progression. For example, for my dissertation project, I was taught how to apply transcranial direct current stimulation to enhance visual short-term memory. Here, I have applied different computational models to obtain my variables and analysed them using Bayesian statistics.

“Due to the many skills I have learned throughout this course, I will be completing a PhD at the University of Liverpool exploring neural and associative learning mechanisms of pain. The project is funded through a departmental teaching position (Demonstrator) in which I will be running labs and seminars for 1st and 2nd year Psychology statistic modules. For the PhD, we will be using EEG, machine learning and computational modelling, with the potential to apply fMRI or TMS to both measure and alter neural responses to painful stimuli, in an attempt to develop a diagnostic tool or intervention for those with chronic pain. The MSc in Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience was essential for being awarded this PhD and teaching position. For example, my knowledge of different computational approaches such as reinforcement learning (which I obtained during Computational neuroscience 1: Biologically grounded models), really impressed and help me stand out during interviews. This course provided me with the skills and confidence to take the next step in securing a competitive PhD position. If you are thinking about applying for a PhD position, this course will provide you with all of the necessary training to get there.”