Ashutosh Mishra is a PhD candidate in neural microstats computational modeling group at DCN under supervision of Mike X Cohen and Bernhard Englitz.
What's your name, nationality, current function, and department?
Ashutosh Mishra, Indian, PhD candidate under shared supervision of Dr. Mike X Cohen (CNS) and Dr. Bernhard Englitz (Department of Neurophysiology )
What is the topic of your PhD project and what does your work look like in practice?
Topic of my PhD project is “Computational analysis of neural microstates across multiple spatiotemporal scales”. It involves identifying patterns in data ( as the name suggests it involves data at different spatial scales i.e. EEG, LFP and Spike activity of a population of neurons) which might correspond to internal brain states of subject. Well, how my work looks like in practice? It’s like sitting in front of my computer and implementing different (relevant) mathematical methods on different datasets (of course with a coffee mug,sitting next to my computer all the time).
What did you want to be when you grew up?
75 percent of Indian kids want to become either a cricketer (idealizing Sachin Tendulkar) or an Engineer. I was no exception. However later in my life my interest leant towards Volleyball and Neuroscience.
What has your career path been so far and how did you come to your current position?
After failing to get into India’s most prestigious engineering institutes, I ended up in one of the (I won’t say best) unique science institutes of India, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research- Kolkata. I was enrolled in 5 year BS-MS dual degree program and graduated with major in Physics in 2016. Despite studying physics I received good exposure of interdisciplinary subjects like Neuroscience, Bio-physics and Geo-physics. I worked at Dr. Supratim Ray’s lab at Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore as summer intern. It was then when I decided to pursue neuroscience instead of physics. I must say Supratim inspired me for science. After finishing my MS, I was going through the usual drill of PhD applications where I came across this PhD position in Donders.
What does the Donders Institute mean to you?
In one year (11 months to be precise ) of my stay here as a PhD student, Donders has been the second home away from home. Moreover the healthy environment here fuels one for research and great ideas.
Who inspires you the most and why?
I think it’s hard (rather unfair) to say that there is one person who inspires me the most. My PhD supervisors Mike and Bernhard and my previous supervisor Supratim, they are my scientific Gurus (I actually refer to them as Guru-ji when I talk to my indian friends, shh… secret code word ). They inspire me for seriousness and discipline in research. My grandfather has been a great source of inspiration for me. And my volleyball coach at my college, Mr. Shyamal has been one of the most inspiring people in my life. He shaped my character and developed a thirst for constant learning.
What does your perfect weekend look like?
My Perfect weekend starts with vegetable/ fruit shopping at Saturday farmers’ market (oh wait, it actually starts with Poha (fried flattened rice) and indian tea with ginger and cinnamon). I am filled with immense health motivation while I shop, but deep down inside inner me knows that these fruits will be imprisoned in the fridge until the next shopping. I am usually accompanied by a bunch of friends for shopping, so late-lunch with them (same restaurant everytime for no reason) is used as an excuse to hang out a little longer. Then saturdays usually end with training at the gym. My perfect sundays start at 10 (sometimes even later) and I am drowned in the Youtube world until I am rescued by a bunch of crazy people who love volleyball as much as I do. Then the entire evening is spent passing, digging and spiking volleyball. And that’s how it ends.
What are you looking forward to in life?
I am looking forward to a balanced life, where I get to contribute to the society without having to stop doing the things I like.