This is a blog about our journey to understand the little grey cells and their function inside our brain. This blog serves as a learning diary for the course Structure and Operation of the Human Brain and consists of our thoughts about lectures, exercises and overall topics of the course and our learning process throughout the course.
We are studying in the Life Science Technologies program and our backgrounds are in Complex Systems, i.e. computational and statistical tools for analyzing large amounts of biological data, and Biosystems and Biomaterials, i.e. cell chemistry and biology, especially in the field of pharmaceuticals and genetic engineering. We both completed our bachelor’s degree in Bio and Chemical Engineering, which gave us a good basis to understand molecular and cell biology as well as the basics of human physiology. However, as chemists we have a contradictory relationship with physics, and the depth of the physics in this course concerns us a bit, but hopefully it will not make this course too challenging for us :D. We are interested in the operation of the brain, especially its function in neurological diseases. At the moment we are already studying the use of artificial intelligence in epileptic seizure classification and detection, and amyloid-like proteins which could gain valuable knowledge related to Alzheimer’s disease. We are keen to work in the interface of healthcare, engineering and data science also in the future.
The first lecture was an introduction to the course. It introduced the concept of brains, its basic structure and tasks. The signal transmitting in nerve cells was covered, which was familiar to us already from previous courses. Although some physiological structures of the brain were familiar for us, the structure of the brain and the Brodmann’s areas in terms of their functions in body were new for us. The lecture underlined the importance of considering different time scales from femtoseconds to ten billion years, i.e. the oscillation of visible light to the age of the universe, and size scales from elementary particles to the size of the universe when trying to comprehend the operation of the brain. The brain is also related to many different fields of science including sociology, psychology, molecular biology, chemistry and atomic physics, which all describe the brain from different viewpoints. It is extremely interesting to think about how the operation of single molecules in our brains end up affecting entire societies and our behavior on this planet.
We look forward to learning more about the function of the brain during this course.