Vikas Shah

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Vikas (sounds like Picasso, except with a V and without the O) Shah


1. What are your main interests? Fundamentally I'm interested in the neurobiological mechanisms underlying consciousness. How does processing which occurs at multiple levels e.g. electrochemical gradients, synapses, neurons, and neuronal networks get (apparently) integrated? What gives rise to qualia? What are the most important mechanisms underlying adaptivity in the brain?

2. What sorts of expertise can you bring to the group? In terms of complexity, very little. Though I have a broad-stroke familiarity, this will be my first in-depth exposure. My areas of expertise are primarily biomedical in nature: I recently finished medical school, and in addition completed a PhD in structural biology two years ago, using biomolecular NMR as a primary techique. I also have a B.A. background in philosophy and am a long-standing computer hobbyist.

3. What do you hope to get out of the CSSS? My main hope is that what I learn at CSSS will act a springboard for future exploration of the field, and how it might fit into a long-term research program investigating consciousness. I know other major investigators in the field are using computational modeling as one of the several fronts they are using to push our understanding, and I think that a foundation in complexity will serve me well in at least this regard.

4. Do you have any possible projects in mind for the CSSS? (Recall that you will all be working in groups on at least one project with the goal of presenting your progress on the last day and finishing up a paper by sumer's end.) At this point, no.


Hey all! I am an MD/PhD student who (at the time of writing) is nearly finished with the program and will be starting my internship and residency immediately following the CSSS. I went to Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN for the MD/PhD and will be headed first to Good Samaritan Hospital in Phoenix, AZ for a year and then to Stanford University for a three year residency in anesthesiology. I suppose during CSSS I will be a 'stateless entity.'

I did my PhD work in structural biology, looking at characteristics of the human cardiac voltage-gated sodium channel using biomolecular NMR and other biophysical techniques.

My long term research goal is to uncover the neurobiological basis of consciousness. (It's not a dirty word anymore - just ask any of these people, who are having a conference in Vegas June 22 - 25.) To this end I pursued degrees in philosophy and biochemistry as an undergraduate and followed up with medical and research degrees for graduate school. I'm certainly not alone in thinking of consciousness as an emergent phenomenon, and that complex systems theory will have some very important things to say about the subject. This is going to be an exciting month for me, and I'm really looking forward to meeting all of you!

By the way, if any you are climbers you should bring some gear. I haven't had much time to get out recently so I'm probably a 5.7-5.8 climber at this point, but I love spending the day outdoors (which is really what's important anyway). I'll be bringing my trad rack and a 60m rope.

You can go here to look at my (rather underdeveloped) web page.

email: vikas (dot) shah (dot) 1976 (at) gmail (dot) com