NAD Fellow year: 2024

Hilde Gunnink

MSc in Biomedicine, Uppsala University
The Netherlands

Lab rotations - pre-PhD year

Lab Rotation 1

Perrier Lab, Department of Neuroscience, University of Copenhagen w/PI Associate Professor Jean-François Perrier

Hilde is performing recordings in a slice preparation of the brain of a mouse model of a neurodevelopmental encephalopathy model. She is recording the local field potential evoked by the activation of synapses in the hippocampus. The goal of her experiments are to determine if memory formation is impaired and eventually to test strategies to prevent the deficit.

Lab Rotation 2

Radulovic Group, Department of Biomedicine, Aarhus University w/PI Professor Jelena Radulovic

Lab Rotation 3

Computational Neuroscience of Reward Group, Danish Research Centre for Magnetic Resonance, Copenhagen University Hospitalets – Hvidovre w/PI Oliver James Hulme

Hilde has come to the “Computational neuroscience of reward” group to learn how to model human behavior. She will learn techniques to build and test Bayesian models of cognition, and she will apply these models to fresh data that the group has from a neuroimaging experiment on risk-taking behavior. To help fast-track this process (11 weeks? yikes!), Hilde will spend a couple of weeks on the group’s favourite Bayesian modelling course in Amsterdam, and she will spend the rest of the time applying what she has learnt to the new data. When not modelling data, Hilde will get some experience piloting new fMRI experiments, brainstorm new ideas at the whiteboard, and maybe even an end-of-summer lab party. Go Hilde!

Meet Hilde Gunnink

Moving from the Netherlands to Sweden to complete her master’s degree and now pursuing a PhD degree in Denmark, Hilde Gunnink has always gone to great lengths to seek out collaborative research environments and broaden her research scope.

Originally from the Netherlands, Hilde Gunnink completed her master’s degree in Biomedicine from Uppsala University in 2022. Her motivation for doing her master’s degree abroad was a wish for a more intimate study programme with more interactions between students and PI’s as well as a desire to challenge herself with establishing a professional network in another country:

“I think science is becoming a more and more international and collaborative thing, so I felt like it was a good opportunity to get a first hint of what that would be like. I like moving around, being thrown into new situations, meeting new people and seeing science in different university settings,” Hilde explains.

This was also a driving factor in her decision to apply for an NAD PhD fellowship:

“I really like how much effort and energy the NAD community spends on building that collaborative environment, because I think the best science is done when you collaborate with other people and share ideas. I am really looking forward to building my own network through this programme and being able to do interesting projects,” Hilde says.

During her master’s thesis work in Uppsala, Hilde worked in a group studying interneurons in the hippocampus and motor cortex:

“I think my work there really sparked my interest in neuronal networks and circuitries on a very basic level. I think that is still my main interest: to see (…) how a singular neuron might connect to other neurons and how that eventually might give rise to all these complex networks that we then see in behavior and in behavioral disorders,” Hilde explains.

For her first rotation, Hilde will join the Perrier Lab at the Department of Neuroscience, University of Copenhagen:

“I am really interested in learning more techniques, and I contacted Jean-Francois Perrier because he suggested that I could get an introduction to patch clamp, which is something I really want to learn as it allows you to record the behavior of a neuron on a neuronal level. He is currently researching the effect of genetic mutations in the synapse vesicle release on signaling in excitatory circuits, which is really interesting: how small molecular changes can have such big outcomes,” Hilde explains.