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Sample Personal Statement for Neuroscience/Neurobiology

Why human beings are capable of thoughts and emotions? Why human beings can learn and retain memory? How it came that human beings can perceive and perform movements? Those are some of my early curiosities that initiated my interest in neuroscience and neurobiology. Now those initial curiosities of mine have grown into a passion which has convinced me that only by developing myself into a neuroscientist will it be possible for me to explore the underlying mysteries behind those questions.

I have received very stringent training and education on basic medical science at the Medical Center of Fudan University (former Shanghai Medical University), a famous Chinese educational institution. I have made excellent achievements on almost every basic program, which ca be testified by the information in my academic record. Through 4-year painstaking efforts made in my study, I have managed to maintain the top ranking in my class in the course of the whole undergraduate program, every year receiving scholarship especially issued by the university to students with academic excellence.

My undergraduate program is a process whereby I have deepened my interest and understanding of neuroscience. By learning anatomy, histology, embryology, and physiology in the first half of my program and neurobiology in the second half of my program, I acquired a systematic and comprehensive knowledge not only about the advanced mental faculties of the human brain but also about the mysteries of the human brain in other aspects. These include the relationship and the interaction between the central nervous system and other systems of the human body such as the endocrine system, the immunological system and the circulation system. Furthermore, as far as the brain itself is concerned, it has an amazing structure. The cortex alone is divided into a multiplicity of cellular layers, each consisting of different cells, with extensive fiber connections not only between different layers but also between individual cells inside a given layer. How did such a sophisticated structure come into being? It perplexes me a great deal, triggering my deep reflections. On the other hand, the substances that are responsible for transmitting information among various media neurons inside the brain are also complicated. These substances can either be the classic nervous communication media, the neural peptide, smaller molecules of chemical substances, etc. Moreover, the diseases caused by the pathological changes have always remained the most difficult problems in the medical science. As I assimilate knowledge in those areas gradually, my mind becomes enriched and my interest reinforced.

I have been clearly aware that to be a student of neuroscience, doing theoretical study and coursework is one thing, the development of practical abilities is another thing. In addition, neuroscience is more an applied subject than a theoretical one. With this realization, I have made conscious efforts to participate in research projects. When a sophomore, on account of my outstanding performance in course work and my strong enthusiasm for experiments, I was accepted by my advisor Prof. Wang Haijie into his research team in which, under the guidance of Prof. Wan, I worked together with his graduate students on the research of the lymph transfer of the glutinous molecule in the tumor. This experience permitted me to undertake labwork earlier than most of my classmates. In addition to the in-class studies, I prefer group discussions with the teachers and classmates so as to strengthen whatever I have learnt from books and, through brainstorming, to extend perspectives of knowledge about the advanced aspects of the science. I usually argue with my classmates on the controversial and interesting issues, such as the mental base for human passion and ideological evolution, genetic solution for mental disorders, etc. we usually form a sort of academic salon to discuss on the issues to our interest. I once organized a group discussion on the latest achievements made by recent Nobel winners in medicine and biology, and during the discussion, I myself hosted a debate on the subject of the functions of NO on cerebral vessel. I also collaborated with a classmate of mine and participated in a multi-functional experiment design launched by our department, for which we received fairly positive comments from departmental academic panel. Participating in those and other similar academic activities significantly increased my sense of joy of doing research work and enabled me to discover my rich research potential. I have come to believe that academic research will be the most appropriate career for my future.

In addition to the academic activities, I have been very active also in social activities. I have been a Red Cross member all the way ever since I was a primary school student, and I have been a regular volunteer to the local hospitals. I often take part in providing free medical services to residents in the local communities. I was a social worker for one year in a neighboring pediatric hospital. In the second half of 2001, I interned at the ZhongShan Hospital, one of the largest general hospitals in China. By having extensive contacts with patients and gaining broad understanding of the clinical medical practices, I have further reinforced my determination to engage in research in the field of biomedicine for the rest of my life.

Driven by my interest, I have chosen to undertake my internship for my graduation project in the neuro-biological laboratory of the University, which is also a national key lab. My job is to research on the estrogen impacts on cholinergic nerve. The research aims to find out the relation between the estrogen of the menopaused aged women and senile dementia, explore the possibility of prevention of senile dementia by estrogen addition to the aged women, and to observe the estrogen impacts on NOS. Thanks to the solid theoretical foundation and intensified experimental capabilities, I have carried out the experiment fairly smoothly so far, and it is very likely that this is going to be the subject of my graduation thesis. I have also attended some of the academic activities like weekly seminar and journal club which are largely open to graduate students. All of those involvements have quite fully prepared me for performing more advanced research in the future.

Years of specialized education have enabled me to know much more about the most critical sections of neuro-biology, in which there exist quite many significant issues that need to be addressed carefully. Research on these issues, such as re-generation of the damaged cerebral vessel cell, prevention of neurotic diseases and the causes of neurotic system retrogress, etc., is extremely meaningful not only for the purpose of theoretical improvement, but also for a clinical practice. As a result of combination of neuro-biology with cognitive sciences and information technologies, artificial intelligence is to be widely applicable in the future. To research on all these challenging issues has been so alluring that I become devoted in using all that I have learnt in order to find a solution. To attend to these issues properly, I feel desperately desirous to pursue a more advanced program to enhance my capabilities comprehensively. The universities in America, famous for their advanced facilities and stringent academic styles, are therefore identified as my best choice for this purpose.

Every bit of achievement in neuro-biological research and practice, I firmly believe, will greatly change the way and the quality of our life. I long to contribute all that I have to help create a better life for you and for me in the nearest future.


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