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Paul Harrison

Background

I finished my masters in mathematics in 2008, where I attained Upper Second Class honours. After the broad curriculum of the first half of my degree, my third and fourth years took a narrower focus where I specialised in various fields of applied mathematics such as mathematical biology, fluid mechanics, and theoretical physics. I went on to spend the next two years on an industrial graduate training scheme where my research was a combination of materials physics and electronics theory. I made extensive use of finite element methods to model the propagation of high pressure shock waves in piezoelectric materials instigated by high velocity impacts. I then used various numerical methods to solve the corresponding circuit and predict the electrical output of the system.

In 2010, after finishing my graduate training scheme, I decided to change fields and pursue a career in life sciences. I wanted to keep a large mathematical component to my research so I joined MOAC in October 2010, completing an MSc with distinction in Mathematical Biology and Biophysical Chemistry the following September. Over the course of that year I settled on neuroscience as my field of choice, in which I am currently studying for a PhD.

Education

University of Warwick
October 2011 - Present: PhD Experimentally Verified Models of the Neocortical Microcircuit
October 2011 - Present: Post-Graduate Certificate in Transferable Skills in Science
October 2010 - September 2011: MSc with distinction in Mathematical Biology and Biophysical Chemistry
Oriel College, University of Oxford
September 2004 - May 2008: MMath Upper Second Class (Hons) in Mathematics

PhD: Experimentally Verified Models of the Neocortical Microcircuit

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The neocortex is the most evolutionary recent part of the brain located in the outer cerebral hemispheres and is responsible for high level functioning such as motor control and conscious thought. It is divided into distinct layers characterised by a variety of cell types with different projection targets, as well as vertical columns containing their own local circuitry - neocortical microcircuits. My PhD project aims to derive both reduced and spatially extended models of various classes of neocortical neuron and verify them experimentally using whole-cell patch clamp techniques. I then aim to use these in mathematically tractable microcircuit models.

Supervisors

Theoretical: Dr Magnus Richardson (Warwick Systems Biology Centre)
Experimental: Dr Mark Wall (Warwick School of Life Sciences)

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MOAC DTC
Senate House
University of Warwick
Coventry
CV4 7AL

paul.harrison@warwick.ac.uk

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