The field of neuroscience deals with studying the nervous system, from neurons to behaviour, and calls upon a vast array of disciplines ranging from biology to chemistry, including mathematics and computer science. This field is diverse and can be broken down into several branches or sub-disciplines. Here are the main ones!
“Molecular and cellular”
They study the biological mechanisms of the nervous system at their smallest scale, that of molecules and cells (neurons, glial cells, neurotransmitters, etc.). These basic elements of brain chemistry, however small, are involved in sensations, learning, memory and neurological pathologies. The neurochemistry of the brain, its growth and its capacity to process and integrate information are under the microscope of scientists.
They combine neuroscience with cognitive science, including psychology and psychiatry, to better understand the functions and dysfunctions of the neural systems involved in behaviour and cognition. They use neuropsychological tests, cognitive tasks and psychophysics, as well as the most sophisticated brain imaging techniques to try to unlock the mysteries of higher mental functions (perception, memory, language, etc.).
Also called “clinical,” they are interested in the normal functioning of the nervous system and its disorders (trauma, dementia, Parkinson’s, mental illnesses, etc.) to better treat and prevent them. In this branch of neuroscience, health specialists such as psychiatrists and neurologists work as a team.
They analyze biological and clinical data on the nervous system (from the molecular level to behaviour) using techniques from mathematics, physics and computer science. Their goal is to improve our understanding of information processing by the brain and the nervous system in general and discover new computational methods and innovative technologies to better understand this system’s structure-function relationship.