NAD Fellow year: 2024

Julia Czurylo

MSc in Biomedical Sciences, Maastricht University

Lab rotations - pre-PhD year

Lab Rotation 1

Kjærby Lab, Center for Translational Neuromedicine, University of Copenhagen w/PI Associate Professor Celia Kjærby

During her rotation in the Kjærby Lab, Julia gets acquainted with the experimental pipeline used in preclinical sleep research. She performs stereotactic surgeries with injection of fluorescent constructs, implantation of fiber optic implants as well as fabrication and implantation of EEG and EMG electrodes. After recovery of the animals, she performs fiber photometric and EEG/EMG recordings in sleeping mice followed by offline sleep scoring. She will also learn how to analyse and interpret the fiber photometric data. Besides lab work, Julia is also participating in lab meetings and journal clubs which help her understand the different sides of sleep research. Julia is mostly working with her buddy, but whenever possible she jumps in on other projects, for example seeing other surgeries, behavioral tests or optogenetic experiments.

Lab Rotation 2

Embodied Computation Group, Center of Functionally Integrative Neuroscience (CFIN), Aarhus University w/PI Professor Micah Allen

As part of her rotation, Julia will be studying the topics of computational neuroscience and brain imaging through guided readings, discussion sessions, and direct mentorship. They will also shadow ongoing projects using functional MRI to examine the neural mechanisms underlying reinforcement learning in pain.

Lab Rotation 3

Petersen Lab, Department of Neuroscience, University of Copenhagen w/PI Peter Petersen

During her rotation at the Petersen Lab, Julia will work with big data sets generated from Neuropixels recordings. She is currently expanding her expertise in stereotactic surgery and behavioral experiments. Throughout the rotation, she will explore the literature on the role of the medial septum, hippocampus, and theta oscillations in spatial navigation. Julia will also conduct her own recordings and apply newly acquired skills in data analysis, including spike sorting, principal component analysis (PCA), and Consistent Embedding of high-dimensional Recordings using Auxiliary variables (CEBRA).

Meet Julia Czurylo

Originally from Poland and having completed her university education in the Netherlands, Julia Czurylo is no stranger to changes of environment and moving where she needs to be to get the most relevant research experience.

Julia Czurylo completed her master’s degree in Biomedical Sciences with a specialisation in Neuromodulation from Maastricht University in 2023. Broadly, Julia is interested in neuromodulation and psychiatric disorders. For her master’s thesis in the Palner Lab at the Department of Clinical Medicine, University of Southern Denmark, Julia worked with chemogenetic manipulation and investigated the effectiveness of psilocybin treatment in the context of obsessive compulsive disorder. She continued work in the lab as a research assistant after completing her thesis.

Julia will be conducting her first rotation at the Kjærby lab at Center for Translational Neuromedicine, University of Copenhagen:

“I was thinking about going into sleep research because I find closed loop neuromodulation very interesting, and sleep has some patterns that might allow me to design a closed loop and discover new markers,” Julia says. During her first rotation, she hopes to be able to try her hand at fiber photometry as well.

For her later rotations, Julia is interested in exploring computational neuroscience methods, with the hope of learning some basic concepts to implement in neuromodulation techniques. In addition, she would like to see how clinically oriented non-invasive neuromodulation research is conducted.

Originally from Poland and having completed her university education in the Netherlands, Julia is no stranger to changes of environment and moving where she needs to be to get the most relevant research experience. As someone who is still new to the Danish neuroscience research community, she appreciates the opportunities NAD provides to strengthen her network:

“I find it really cool that the NAD forms a community. It is especially nice if you are new to Denmark and just coming into the country. I have already met so many amazing people, and the new fellows and the fellows from last year socialise a lot already. You also get to meet so many supervisors that you would not normally meet during the pre-PhD year,” Julia explains.

Julia loves neuroscience because it allows her to think creatively and be curious, and the opportunity to design her own PhD project was a driving factor in her decision to apply for the NAD PhD programme:

“I am excited about being trusted so much to actually design my own project, brainstorm with supervisors and collaborate with different people,” Julia says.