NAD Fellow year: 2023

Carolyn Goddard

MSc in Human Biology, University of Copenhagen

PhD Project

Project title
Unlocking Potential: Targeting PICK1 and ICA69 for Therapeutic Insights
PhD lab
Toft Sørensen Lab, Department of Neuroscience
University of Copenhagen
Main supervisor
Associate Professor Andreas Toft Sørensen
Associate Professor Kenneth Lindegaard Madsen, Department of Neuroscience, University of Copenhagen
Professor Nanna Brix Finnerup, Danish Pain Research Center, Aarhus University
Associate Professor Tune Pers, Center for Basic Metabolic Research

Lab rotations - pre-PhD year

Lab Rotation 1

Engineering and Neurophysiology Group, Department of Health Science and Technology, Aalborg University w/PI Professor Winnie Jensen

During her first rotation, Carolyn will be assisting in the lab’s work on chronic pain models in Danish farm pigs.

Lab Rotation 2

Pers Group, Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research, University of Copenhagen w/PI Associate Professor Tune Pers

The Pers group focuses on identifying central processes regulating metabolic fuel homeostasis. Carolyn is working with the CRISPR/Cas9 system to create multiple gene perturbations in cellular systems and model organisms relevant to energy and blood glucose homeostasis. Carolyn will create guide RNAs (gRNA) that can be cloned into a vector backbone, and then packed in a viral vector, to be tested in cells and in mice that express Cas9 in a specific neuronal subtype. The gRNAs that pass the validation step will be packaged into virus in the following weeks, after which they will be tested in Cas9 expressing mice. Cells from cultures and tissue will be subjected to single-nucleus RNA sequencing and analyzed for the effect of the candidate genes knock downs on processes likely to regulate central glucose and energy homeostasis.

Lab Rotation 3

Cai Lab, Department of Neuroscience, University of Copenhagen w/PI Associate Professor Changsi Cai

During Carolyn’s 10-week rotation, she will be introduced to microsurgeries of living mice, training of awake mice, and how to operate two-photon microscope. She will mainly focus on studying brain cells which are associated with regulation of microcirculation in awake transgenic mice. Carolyn will gain insights of theory on blood flow regulation, hands-on experience with preparing mice for in vivo imaging, basic skills of data processing. Furthermore, Carolyn will utilize the knowledge acquired from the previous lab rotation to participate in a vascular aging study.

Meet Carolyn Goddard

Originally from Indiana, USA, Carolyn Goddard obtained her MSc in Human Biology from the University of Copenhagen in 2021. Since completing her degree, Carolyn has worked as a research assistant at the Toft Sørensen lab at the Department of Neuroscience, University of Copenhagen. In addition, she has done an internship at the Technical University of Denmark.

Carolyn’s main research interests are translatable models, neuroplasticity and novel therapeutic strategies, but she is still very open to new topics and perspectives, which is part of the reason why she was drawn to the NAD programme:

“I think one of the one of my main characteristics as a scientist is that I really enjoy making connections between different areas of research or different topics (…) I get really excited when I learn about new topics, and I haven’t necessarily specialised deeply into one thing. I’ve really enjoyed learning about how to apply my skills to different topics, and I thought that this sounded like a really ideal programme for me because you get to experience different labs and hopefully make collaborations.”

As a researcher, Carolyn is motivated by making new connections and discoveries: “When I come across a pocket of research that’s either relevant or sort of tangentially related (…) to what I have been doing before, I just feel like I have an aha moment. As I go deeper into research, I just am continually excited by these underlying connections between different conditions.”