NAD Fellow year: 2024

Juliana Alicja Zink Pedersen

MSc in Biomedicine, University of Southern Denmark

Lab rotations - pre-PhD year

Lab Rotation 1

Wüstner Group, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Southern Denmark w/PI Professor Daniel Wüstner

During her rotation, Juliana will investigate the link between cholesterol transport and calcium dynamics in the neurodegenerative disorder, Niemann-Picks disease. Isogenic ARPE19 cells with and without NPC1 or NPC2 KO are examined by different live cell bioimaging techniques with Widefield and confocal STED microscopy, including calcium, lysosomal and mitochondrial imaging. Furthermore, Juliana will perform the  imaging data analysis quantitatively using Python.

Lab Rotation 2

Danish Dementia Research Centre, Rigshospitalet w/PI Professor Jørgen Erik Nielsen

Lab Rotation 3

Palner Lab, Department of Clinical Research, University of Southern Denmark w/PI Associate Professor Mikael Palner

Juliana is working on dynamic mode decomposition of biological defined brain circuits using FDG PET brain imaging in rats.

Meet Juliana Alicja Zink Pedersen

With a natural curiosity and a strong background in molecular neuroscience, Juliana Alicja Zink Pedersen is excited to embark on her PhD journey.

Juliana Alicja Zink Pedersen completed her master’s degree in Biomedicine from the University of Southern Denmark in 2022. Since then, she has been working as a research assistant in the group of Professor Poul Henning Jensen at Aarhus University.

In her master’s thesis, which she completed in the Morten Meyer Group at the University of Southern Denmark, Juliana investigated the interaction between neurons and astrocytes in patients with Parkinson’s disease, as well as the transferral of mitochondria between these cell types.

Broadly, Juliana is interested in neurodegenerative diseases:

“I am very interested in neurodegenerative diseases. First, because there are so many things we do not yet know within the field, and second, because the treatments we have at this point can only provide symptom management; we do not have a treatment to stop the progression of a disease. Even if I cannot make a difference directly, I hope to at least add some knowledge to the already-existing pool of knowledge that might one day be used to develop an effective treatment,” Juliana says.

Juliana has an inquisitive mind, making her naturally curious about the world:

“I have always had a natural interest in science – asking questions and finding evidence that might provide answers. I am definitely a logical thinker. In addition, I have always had an interest in microscopy which naturally led me on the research path. While studying biomedicine, I had some really great professors within neuroscience who lit the fire I already had within me and gave me all the more reason to move in that direction,” Juliana says.

One of Juliana’s greatest motivations for joining the NAD PhD programme is the opportunity to expand her research network:

“During the pre-PhD year, you have a unique opportunity to expand your network.  (..) I feel privileged to have the opportunity to visit three different research groups and get an insight into how they work, learn new methods and network with both professors and other researchers in the groups. As I see it, it is really a benefit, also in relation to my upcoming PhD project (…) You have better opportunities for collaborating with other groups in the future,” Juliana explains.

For her first rotation, Juliana will join the lab of Daniel Wüstner at the University of Southern Denmark. Juliana is interested in improving her skills within different methods, and in Wüstner’s Group, she will gain experience within different types of microscopy, bioinformatics and data analysis.