I have been accepted for a Ph.D. in computer science (CS) and funded projects I am applying for are computationally focused whole brain neuroimaging (e.g., MRI, DTI) cognitive neuropsychology research with new experimentally-derived human data. My end goal is to do computational neuroscience at a molecular electrophysiology level using experimentally-derived subject data which my biology, math, and CS background and prior neuro research projects help with (also, would greatly enjoy the positions but end goal strong favorite).

Would doing a Ph.D. with my research in those funded positions (which are more top-down whole brain, as opposed to my bottom-up individual neuron end goal) prohibit me from being a good applicant for postdoc positions in my end goal research area? How much of an extra challenge would this cause compared to doing a Ph.D. directly with research in my end goal?

In general terms: would agreeing to do funded research for a Ph.D. in a related area to the one that is eventually desired allow for getting a postdoc in a position one most wants? Also, what are good ways to do extra work during the degree toward the postdoc wanted?

closed as off-topic by scaaahu, Massimo Ortolano, aparente001, Buzz, user3209815 Mar 6 '17 at 9:18

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  • Voted to close as unclear. – aparente001 Mar 5 '17 at 4:03
  • @aparente001 Please allow me to add descriptions that help clarify the question and thank you for alerting me to it not being clear. I have added a description in parenthesis to try to help clarification. My question is: if I do a Ph.D. with research in a related but different area to my ultimate goal research, will that still lead to me being a good candidate for a postdoc in research in the ultimate goal area? Are there other things I can say to try to help explain the question better? Thanks! – compneurophile Mar 5 '17 at 15:21
  • @compneurophile Computational neuroscience, even with respect to your "bottom-up individual neuron end goal", is still big enough to make your question too broad. Are you talking about working with "realistic" data-driven models (which involves a lot of mathematics), or analyzing experimental data (which still involves a lot of mathematics, but also potentially machine learning or image processing), or something else. There is also often a fair amount of (software/hardware) engineering required in major projects, e.g. to develop some of the experimental systems. – 101010111100 Mar 5 '17 at 15:50
  • @compneurophile That being said, researchers in the field understand the highly multidisciplinary nature of the field, so as long as you have a chance to familiarise yourself in your CS PhD with some of the essential low-level neuroscience knowledge (electrophysiology, neuroanatomy, neuromodulation, etc), you should be okay. – 101010111100 Mar 5 '17 at 15:55
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    people commenting must be from other fields, because this really isn't an unclear question. obviously it would be best to study your topic of interest now, rather than bank on getting a post-doc doing what you like 5+ years from now. that said, if you have no choice but to stick with your current lab for the PhD, it certainly is possible to switch to molecular/cellular comp neuro for the post-doc. in fact, i've done just that. i did my PhD doing psychophysics and some modeling in an fMRI lab, and will be starting a post-doc this fall in a comp neurosci lab. – dbliss Mar 5 '17 at 17:13