Shai Fuchs, Clinical Neuroscience MSc
Why did you choose to study your programme and what made you choose the UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology?
Understanding human existence necessarily involves understanding how the brain works. Scientific research has already been able to solve many of our questions concerning nature, but similar to distant galaxies in space, our brain is still shrouded in mystery, making the task of discovering its secrets challenging and intriguing. Beyond answering philosophical questions that have occupied thinkers since the dawn of time, such as what is the "Self" and how is it related to our memory, neuroscience research can significantly affect us; in discovering how to defeat addictions, overcome traumas and cure diseases. I also believe that any possibility of significant technological progress is dependent on a deeper understanding of the field of neuroscience. I was always fascinated by psychiatric and neurological disorders, as they seemed to be enigmatic phenomena that combine body and mind. I choose UCL's MSc clinical neuroscience programme since I believe it will advance and enrich my professional development and open up a wide range of opportunities. Moreover, this programme exposes the students to various neurological disorders, and I thought it could assist me in understanding better what kind of research I would like to pursue during my PhD and subsequent career.
What do enjoy most about your programme?
World-renowned researchers share their knowledge about a wide variety of neurological disorders. Exposing us students to the genetic causes, cellular and molecular mechanisms, clinical presentation and treatment options is a beautiful way to ensure we obtain an in-depth understanding of these disorders. Moreover, we are also exposed to the most current, innovative, and ground-breaking research worldwide. As a result, I understand the current challenges in specific fields within neuroscience and get a peek into the thought process and the kind of questions that researchers ask when trying to discover the unknown and advance human knowledge, which ultimately is what I aspire to do as well.
What impact has receiving the scholarship had for you?
I am very grateful that my family was able to help me fund my studies, and receiving the scholarship made me feel incredibly proud that I can contribute my share to the family effort.
What advice would give prospective students thinking of studying at the Queen Square Institute of Neurology?
Studying clinical neuroscience as an international student at UCL is, without a doubt, the most challenging experience I have ever had and the most fantastic opportunity that ever fell on my part. I needed to invest a significant amount of time and effort in my studies. Studying in a different language, getting acquired to a different culture, being far from my family and friends, the program's high intensity, and the complex material we learn can be overwhelming. However, learning to navigate these difficulties and how to deal with them is empowering. The challenges others will face may be somewhat different. I can only suggest prospective students to be kind to themselves during the learning process, believe in themselves and their abilities, and celebrate their progress.
What are your plans for the future once you have completed your degree?
I aspire to pursue a PhD and develop my career as a researcher. During my work as an fMRI associate in a pre-surgical unit, I encountered patients facing brain surgery almost daily for two years. It became clear to me that my future career should be meaningful and positively impact the world. In the future, I hope to have the creative freedom to lead innovative projects that will contribute to alleviating or preventing people's suffering and improve their quality of life.