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文书点评:神经生理学(Neurophysiology)专业申请文书

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As I sat in a dark, windowless imaging lab, clicking away at the human brain images in front of me, my eyes wandered to the thin network cable leaving my computer and disappearing into the wall. I glanced back at the MRI images in front of me. They displayed the architecture of the subject’s brain, the biology of the subject’s entire experiential history. Was it possible that his belief structure, library of memories and psychological potentiality had been encrypted into a 16MB file hurtling through this thin cable in front of me? I had to wonder: was this massive network of neural circuitry simply the universe’s mainframe computer? And if so, was it possible that we had actually captured a picture of the inner workings of life?

I was first intrigued by the neurophysiologic correlates of the mystical or spiritual side of life as a young child, when I noticed that my own visual experiences were quite different from those of others. I saw most objects with a field akin to heat coming off pavement. No one could explain these images but a few spiritual and Eastern medical practitioners, and only by using such descriptions as “energy” and “auras.” These explanations lacked any basis in the language of biology that made so much sense to me. It seemed that the more science I studied, the further away any rational answer was pushed. Science and spirit seemed so incongruent, and yet they both appeared to be two windows looking into the same house. Not one to be satisfied without resolution, I constantly sought out books and conferences that combined these two fields.

In 1996 Caroline Myss published a book entitled "Anatomy of the Spirit, " documenting her experiences and thoughts on being a “medical intuitive.” As her ten-day conference on medical intuition was co-presented by a Duke-trained neurosurgeon, Dr. Norm Shealy, it seemed the two fields blended well. I attended with a curious mind, but what I found was quite disappointing. Although they tried to elucidate certain phenomena with scientific language, they could not support it with rigorous scientific studies. I realized, walking away from that conference, that any type of spiritual or mystical experience had to entail a complex neurocognitive process and that therefore, it could be scientifically observed.

In order to study this process more actively, I sought out scientists who could provide me with a hands-on, comprehensive neurobiological education. The professor of the neurobiology class I was tutoring at UCI recommended me to a scientist who focused on the neuroimaging of intelligence, Dr. Richard Haier. Dr. Haier was interviewing for a computer analyst to work on a new project, a human imaging study of dementia using Alzheimer’s disease and Down’s syndrome. My drive and commitment to excellence won me the position. This afforded me the opportunity to become intimately aware of the relationship between mental states and brain structure while studying the progression of neural degeneration. At this point, my grandmother died from complications associated with Parkinson’s disease, and so the physiology of neural degeneration became an intense focus in my life. Researching the etiology of the disease, I found a biotechnology firm investigating the use of endogenous growth factors to instigate neural repair and regeneration. Their research lab was on our campus, led by Dr. James Firestone. Again, my commitment to meticulous scientific inquiry earned me a research position.

The interdisciplinary nature of the curriculum and faculty research in the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior at UCI is ideal for my many-sided approach to studying the nervous system. Neuronal regeneration and reorganization is a specific area of interest, and I would welcome the chance to interact more with Dr. John Marshall.

My academic record at UCI directly conveys my ability to excel in the study of neuroscience. I have received stellar marks in my academic career at UCI, and as a paid upper-division tutor for the Learning and Academic Resource Center, I was given the highest evaluation given to tutors by my students. Additionally, my extracurricular research and participation in UCI’s Excellence in Research program highlight my personal dedication to original research, so crucial to success in doctoral study. However, it will likely be my multifaceted approach to the study of neuroscience and my mission to understand the biology of belief that will contribute most significantly to my success.

When conducted with passion, rigorous scientific research can envelop one’s life. My eyes, bulging from staring too long into a florescent microscope, illustrate how easy it is to forget the human aspect of research. Even with both research positions, preparing for the national FASEB conference, tutoring upper division biology undergraduates, and operating my own business, however, I make the time to catch a smile from someone in need. I volunteer at a local community children’s clinic, raising money for their families, and as a summer camp counselor for neurologically disabled and foster children. In addition to the intense research I hope to be able to pursue at UCI, I am eager to continue balancing my life in this regard. As Paley said, “The great energies of nature are known to us only by their effects.” These effects are not found just in labs, but in life.

点评:

这是一篇描写作者在寻求真理的道路上颠簸的经历。从他的文章看来,他是一个坚持不懈的人,愿意不断探索的人。文章体现了作者把感兴趣→思考→探索的过程交代得很清楚,并突出了他是一个有着非一般见解的成熟的人。

然而,自我感觉他应该将思考过程再深化一些,因为他的阐述让我有点意犹未尽的感觉,他可以再更进一步地展现他与众不同的思维模式,我觉得这样会更好。

另外,作者在描写自己的学习过程中把过多笔墨花在无关紧要的细节上面,反而削弱了自己是如何进行学习,而且也没有突出自己的研究能力。

最后,侧重点没把握住,作者过多提及自己研究以外的事情,对自己专业的陈述就相对缺乏。

译文:

当我坐在成像实验室里,点击着前面的大脑图像,我的视线沿着电线,从显示屏游离开来,一直望到墙上……我瞥了一眼前面的MRI图像,它们显示着这个大脑的构造,反映着它整个生活历史的生物规律。它的信仰结构,记忆实验室和心理潜能会不会都能编译成这个16MB的文件,并用电脑反映出来呢?我不禁去思考:这个巨大的神经网络是不是能等同于一部通用的计算机主机呢?如果是这样,我们是不是有可能捕捉到生命内在运作的图像呢?

当我还是个小孩,我就发现自己的视觉体验与别人有着很大的区别,也因此我第一次迷上了神经生理上的联系,这种生活中的神秘或精神上的联系。我看到了大多数如热量从路面升起这类奇妙的现象。除了一些精神和东方医生,就没有人能对此进行解释了,而且这种解释只能使用像“能量”和“气息”这类的词语进行描述。由于这些解释没有任何生物基础,但对我的意义很大。我觉得涉足科学领域越深,就越能挖掘越合理的答案。科学和精神看似不统一,它们就像两扇窗户,让人们从不同角度看同一个房子。由于没有解开问题,使我无法满足,我不断地去翻阅书籍或参加关于这两个领域的相互联系的会议,希望能帮我理清思路。

在1996年Caroline Myss出版了一本名为"Anatomy of the Spirit" 的书。里面记载着她作为一位“医务工作直观”时的经历和感想。她和另一位Duke大学的神经外科医生Dr. Norm Shealy合作组织了一次为期10天的学术讨论会。似乎这是一场将两个领域很好结合的会议。我满怀好奇参加了这次会议,但结果却令我非常失望。尽管他们尝试用科学语言解释一些现象,但却无法为这次阐述提供严谨的科学研究理论。走出会议室,我意识到任何类型的精神或神秘体验都必须通过错综复杂的神经系统识别过程,才会有科学发现。

为了更有效地学习这个过程,我寻找能为我提供实用的,全面的神经生物学习的科学家。当我在UCI作辅导教师时一位教授把我推荐给专注于智力神经影像的科学家:Dr. Richard Haier。Dr. Richard Haier想通过面试找到一名计算机分析师,并开展一个新的项目:利用研究老年痴呆和Down’s 综合症的手段对痴呆症进行人类成像的研究。我的研究激情和动力使我得到了这个职位。当我进行神经衰退过程研究时我有机会详尽地去了解精神状态和大脑结构之间的关系。正在此时,我的祖母死于珀金森氏病,因此迫使我集中研究神经衰退的生理学这个领域。研究这种疾病的根源时,我发现一间生物技术公司正在研究应用内在生长素修复神经,使神经恢复新生。他们的研究实验室就在我们的校园内,由Dr. James Firestone领导。由于我对科学精益求精的精神使我得到了研究助理这个职位。

在UCI的神经生物和行为学院里,各个学科,各个教授研究都交叉渗透,使我能多方面去研究神经系统。神经新生,重组是我的兴趣所向,我非常希望能与Dr. John Marshall有更多机会交流。

我在UCI的学术成绩直接反应了我在神经科学这个领域的掌握程度。我在UCI的学术生涯里成绩优异,作为一名获得奖学金,在学术资源中心传授较大课程的助教,学生对我辅导的课程给予了最高评价。另外,我课余时间在UCI’s Excellence的项目的研究和准备工作突出了我个人对于创新研究的贡献,这对我寻求的博士生课程的成功起着至关重要的作用。然而,它将是我探索神经科学领域的另一种途径,我对信仰的生物性的了解将会促使我在这个领域取得重大的成功。

当有了激情,严谨的科学研究就成了我生活的一部分。我目不转睛地凝视着显微镜,很容易就忘却了研究中“人”方面存在的因素。即使身兼两职,准备国家FASEB会议,讲授本科的生物课程和完成我自己的工作,我仍然尽量抽身出来帮助有需要的人。我在一家当地儿童社区门诊部当志愿工作者,为他们的家庭筹集捐款。我也在一个夏令营的当过精神顾问,开导弱智儿童和孤儿。除了希望能在UCI继续从事激情的研究,我也热切希望在这方面继续平衡我的生活。正如Paley所说:“我们只有在大自然产生影响之时才感受到它巨大的能力”,这些影响不仅出现在实验室里,而且还融入进生活里。

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