Neural Engineering Track in the ESM Ph.D. Program
The Penn State Center for Neural Engineering is a university-wide center administrated by the College of Engineering and the College of Medicine, with laboratories within the ESM department at University Park. By 2010, the Center will occupy substantial space in the new Materials Science – Life Science II building, with significant space for collaborating-participating faculty from Hershey.
The research mission of the Center for Neural Engineering is to use an integrated application of scientific understanding and engineering principles to solve problems in systems neuroscience, understand and treat dynamical diseases of the nervous systems, and to develop technologies for smart neural prosthetics.
The educational mission of the Center for Neural Engineering includes the development of novel curricula at Penn State. As part of this mission, we have created a new PhD track in Neural Engineering within the current PhD curriculum of the ESM department.
The Neural Engineering PhD track will require core competency in knowledge of the nervous system, along with the fundamental Engineering Science skills in applied mathematics, electrical and magnetic interactions with biological tissue, neural interfaces, sensing and stimulation of the nervous system, and the ability to use signal processing to analyze and interpret neural activity.
The Neural Engineering PhD Track in ESM requirements will be identical with the standard ESM PhD requirements, and will leverage the traditional strengths of an Engineering Science education with applications to Neural Engineering. ESM doctoral students with a BS degree must complete 42 course credits that include 24 credits in the ESM department. ESM doctoral students entering with an MS degree must complete 18 course credits that include 12 credits in the ESM department. Neural Engineering track students will enter the Neural Engineering track from a variety of disciplines, and will have an individualized selection of courses. The core competencies in Neural Engineering, upon which the specialty candidacy examination will draw from, will be based upon material covered in the following courses:
* Biol 469 (BB H) Neurobiology
* Biol 470 (BB H) Functional and Integrative Neurosciences
* E SC 400H Electromagnetic Fields/ E SC 596 Independent Study in Electromagnetic Fields
* E MCH 524A Mathematical Methods In Engineering
* EE 553 - Topics in Digital Signal Processing
* E SC 597F Neural Engineering: Fundamentals Of Interfacing with Brain
Additional Courses in Neural Engineering:
E SC 497 Introduction to Brain Computer Interfaces
E SC 529 (Physics 529) Neural Control Engineering
PHYS 597 Computational Neuroscience
HMC Grad to Med – Clinical Internship at Hershey Medical Center
E SC 597B (STS 597A) Neuroethics and Neurolaw
597 Advanced Topic Seminars (1 credit each per semester):
Integrated Systems Neural Engineering
Brain Computer Interfaces
Cellular Neural Engineering
Neural Control Engineering
Advanced Graduate Courses in Neural Engineering under development:
E SC 597 Brain Computer Interfaces
E SC 597 Brain Image Analysis
E SC 597 Neural Mechanics
For complete course list see Neural Engineering ESM Graduate Courses at Penn State.
In addition to the 42/18 credits of regular course work as defined above for BS/MS level students, Neural Engineering track students are additionally required to attend 5/3 credits of E SC 514 seminar.
The candidacy examination will assess basic principles of the engineering sciences that relate to a fundamental knowledge of the nervous system. This may involve knowledge of the basic anatomical structure of the nervous systems, the biophysics of excitable membranes, the origin of neuronal action potentials, principles of electrical measurement and stimulation of the nervous system and the materials science required for such interfaces, and the basic signal processing of continuous and discrete signals including spectral and correlation analysis.
The present faculty within the Penn State Center for Neural Engineering are also developing new course offerings in Brain-Machine Interfaces, Advanced Signal Processing, and Control Theory with applications to Neural Engineering. As these curricular options are developed, these courses will be intercalated into the PhD curricula.
The Neural Engineering track courses will draw upon a variety of course work from the colleges of Engineering and Science, including Engineering Sciences and Mechanics, Biology, Bioengineering, Physics, Computer Sciences and Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Statistics, and Mathematics. A selection of relevant courses at Penn State can be found in the document Neural Engineering ESM Graduate Courses at Penn State.