Thank you for your interest in neuroscience. Can I share my story how I went into neuroscience research with you?
I was living in Singapore when I attended high school and at the time there was hardly any neuroscience classes being taught or research being performed in the country[At1] . Because of this, I actually started off doing research in stem cells. During the research attachment, I realized that I was (and still am) interested to build tools to facilitate scientific research and decided to become a biomedical engineer investigating the effects of mechanical forces on cellular activities. In my PhD, I got introduced to neuroscience/neural engineering by a postdoc and quickly realized how little we understand about the brain. That motivated me to try to develop technologies to further our understanding of the brain. From my personal experience, I can say that there is nothing as too late to know about the brain as I believe you can build expertise in different fields and contribute to neuroscience eventually.
After I decided to pursue neuroscience for my career, I had to choose a sub-field that I was most interested in. Little did I know neuroscience is such a diverse discipline! So my first piece of advice would be to get a general sense of the sub-fields within neuroscience such as neurochemistry, neuro-diseases, brain imaging etc. You can do that easily by googling and using Wikipedia. There are also many unknowns about the brain that you might find interesting. Some of them include the biological basis for sleep and how is memory stored and retrieved.
After some reading online, I decided to capitalize on my knowledge of mechanobiology to understand the role of mechanical forces on neurons. To do this, I learnt new knowledge to understand what is the state of the art for this sub-field. I could do that through classes easily in university. I am unsure if you have access to university classes such as through advanced placement classes but there are free Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) from platforms such as from Harvard and MIT which you can consider using. Furthermore, you might want to participate in outreach programs organized by Society for Neuroscience and International Society for Neuroethics to gain deeper knowledge of the ‘unknowns’ in your area of interest.
I finally decided to work on mechano-sensitive ion channels which are proteins in cell membrane that open/close in response to mechanical forces. My research since then has been focused on understanding pain and to develop neural stimulation technique by perturbing mechano-sensitive ion channels. To me, doing research has been the best lesson for me to deepen understanding of a field that I am interested in. Therefore, I strongly encourage you to try research and suggest that you look at faculty/labs in the neuroscience departments from top universities. There are plenty of opportunities such as Stanford Institutes of Medicine Summer Research Program, UCLA High School Summer Research Program and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Undergraduate Research Program. Do check out our Twitter account @stanfordneuro to learn about neuroscience research, and to connect with Science Twitter (which is another great resource)!