University of Plymouth: James Humble alumni case study

Current employer: IBM Research

Current job title: Research Scientist

Current location: New York

"My time at Plymouth got me my PhD, which was the stepping stone to my career goals." 

What was the title of your project?

Learning, self-organisation and homeostasis in spiking neuron networks using spike-timing dependent plasticity.

Describe your research in one sentence.

I use computational models of the brain to study how synapses change and the effects these changes have on the activity of a network of neurons.

What was the most exciting element(s) of your project (e.g. fieldwork or conferences etc)?

I find conferences exciting because I get to attend presentations on the cutting edge in the field and receive critical feedback on my own research from experts.

What was the most exciting outcome of your project?

During my time at Plymouth I also worked with colleagues on developing outreach demonstrations which could be used in schools. The most exciting outcome was a real-time object recognition system with an artificial retina.

Tell us what you have been doing since completing your research.

After I left Plymouth I first went to Japan to complete a post-doc at RIKEN. When this finished, I moved to IBM Research in New York to complete a second post-doc.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get in to the same line of work?

I use computational models of parts of the brain and although these simulations can be very abstract, it is crucial to understand the neurobiology. So, I would advise anyone interested in computational neuroscience to study the basic neuroscience as well.

How did your time at Plymouth help you?

My time at Plymouth got me my PhD, which was the stepping stone to my career goals.

Would you recommend undertaking research at the University, and why?

Yes, because the research staff at Plymouth really do all they can to help you succeed in your research.

Inspired by this story?

For more information about our range of courses within the School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics, please visit the school page.

Want to find similar alumni?

If you would like to find out what other relevant alumni from the Faculty of Science and Engineering are currently doing, please visit the computing mathematical sciences interest area.

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