Day: August 28, 2020


E008 How To Start a Career in AI as a PhD? Andre Marques Smith on Working for a BCI Startup

Dr. Andre Marques-Smith was born in Portugal to a mixed Scottish and Portuguese background. After undergraduate studies in Psychology, he completed his PhD at the University of Oxford, mapping the development of sensory cortical neural circuits in neonatal rodents. In early post-doctoral work at King’s College London, he studied the role that genes play in instructing neurons to form the right connections. He then shifted to systems neuroscience, completing projects on the development of electrophysiological tools for simultaneously recording hundreds of neurons and on neural circuits underlying instinctive vision.

However, even though Andre developed a career in science — including publishing his work in the most prestigious research journals such as Science, Nature Neuroscience, Neuron & Nature Communications — and got all the credits to stay in academia for a lifetime, in 2019, he took a personal decision to pursue a new challenge and direction in his career. After a period of self-study on Deep Neural Networks and Reinforcement Learning, he joined CoMind Technologies to work on building a wearable brain-computer interface. He is very open about his motivation and life philosophy, and he is eager to help other researchers who are hesitating on how to pursue their careers.

In this webinar, Andre told us how he re-qualified from an experimental neuroscientists towards an expert in programming neural networks — all by himself and using only the knowledge acquired online. He also shared why he believes that the startup culture is particularly welcoming to PhDs, and why it is easier to thrive in a startup than in a corporation.