Fernando Vera Buschmann, Fulbright Scholar from Chile, Chose NJIT to Learn from Great Minds
Written by: Michael Giorgio
Ying Wu College of Computing (YWCC) and the department of Computer Science are proud to count Fulbright Scholar Fernando Vera Buschmann as a member of its Ph.D. candidate team of researchers, one of a growing number of Fulbright award recipients who have chosen NJIT as an incubator for their professional goals and objectives. He came to NJIT from Osorno, a small town in Patagonia, far south of Santiago, Chile, with a background in physics and pedagogy having obtained his M.Sc. at the University of Chile.
His fascination with better understanding the human brain inspired him to pursue computational neuroscience as a means of uniting physical science and computer science in an effort to study and design algorithms that could lead to new discoveries in mental health, from autism, depression, traumatic changes to psychological states. Seeking to understand from the very complexity of large-scale elements of the brain.
“We still don’t know enough about the brain. There are more connections in the brain than the number of stars in the complete universe," he said.
As a Fulbright Scholar, Vera Buschmann was presented with several options on where to pursue his Ph.D., focusing on either Europe or the U.S. Recognizing the NY metro area as one of the world’s major tech hubs, he narrowed his choices to just a few select universities of interest.
However, when mining potential discoveries in the brain through computing, the great mind under which you will conduct your research is just as important as where you do it. Buschmann ultimately chose YWCC for the opportunity to work with Distinguished Professor David Bader, cofounder of the Graph500 List for benchmarking “Big Data” computing platforms, one of the pioneers of Linux supercomputing, and a leading researcher in High Performance Computing.
Under Bader’s mentorship, Buschmann analyzes large-scale knowledge graphs in open sources to understand how certain data behaves within them. It is within the application of these findings that Buschmann seeks to assist in advancing the intersection of the science of data and the study of what makes us human.
He observed, “Physics, computer science and neuroscience are a good way to understand the nature of the world.”
Upon completion of his Ph.D., Buschmann hopes to bring his experience back to Chile, mainly to Osorno, which, as an underserved population, has significant education challenges, particularly with developmental science. This is a sentiment shared by his brother Jorge Vera Buschmann, who happens to be a neuroscientist at Albert Einstein College of Medical Bronx, NY.
According to Buschmann, the program thus far has been “diverse, competitive, and quite demanding,” but also cites the unique opportunity to work side by side with people who are as passionate about finding solutions as invaluable.
He added, “Working permanently on the frontier of knowledge, seeking answers to questions that are currently being discussed in industry and attending academic conferences worldwide is nothing short of incredible.”
The “how” and “why” of the brain is what motivates him to join millions of others who are still seeking answers.
“The most important computer we have is our brain. And yet, we still are only scratching the surface when trying to understand it."