The year of 2019 is shortly coming to a close, and we start to bring it home with episode 241, featuring guest Dr. Brian Sweis of the University of Minnesota. He was listed as one of the recipients of the Forbes 30-under-30 description in the category of Science for 2019, and his focus is neuroscience.
He completed the PhD part of his MD/PhD program in 2018, and continues through his MD at this time. His research exists “…at the intersection of affective, behavioral, and cognitive neuroscience and clinical psychiatry and neurology, particularly focused on neuromodulation interventions.” The work he does “… aims to understand how the brain processes information during decision-making and how lasting changes in the synaptic mechanisms of plasticity, particularly in the context of addiction and other psychiatric disorders, give rise to maladaptive behaviors.”
- how Dr. Sweis got to where he is in the MD/PhD neuroscience program at the University of Minnesota
- why is it relevant that one study the intersection of multiple fields like affective, cognitive, and behavioral science, along with neurology and neuroeconomics
- what some of Dr. Sweis’ work on neuromodulation efforts looks like in terms of description and example
- how there are biomarkers that are more or less reliable than others to inform researchers of an attribute in place
- why decisions are multi-faceted, and can arise from distinct circuit-specific neural computations
- the difference between decisions made from an emotional standpoint, versus from a logical basis, and how each can be beneficial in different scenarios
- the kinds of animal and human trials that are done to research how the brain is impacted, and what kinds Dr. Sweis performs
- what it means to look at decision-making in a neuroeconomic way, assessing comparative values to choices
- how disorders can alter how stored information is processed
- some of the scientists and advisors along the way that have guided or informed Dr. Sweis, along with the reasons why
I can see why Dr. Sweis was selected for the Forbes designation, and enjoyed discussing with him while he currently is in a study program. He has long-term goals for research, teaching, and medical work, which is a full-throttle set of items. Some of his research application qualities remind me of Dr. Daniel Z. Lieberman from episode 201, who discussed his research on dopamine. Dr. Sweis also mentioned my interview with Dr. Robert Sapolsky in this episode, and I have always liked Dr. Sapolsky’s book Behave.