NAD Fellow year: 2024

Kelly Hoogervorst

MSc in Biomedical Sciences, University of Amsterdam
The Netherlands

Lab rotations - pre-PhD year

Lab Rotation 1

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

Kelly Hoogervorst is working on an exciting project where we are trying to map the brain’s reward system using functional neuroimaging. She is using a new technique that involves fitting computational models of reward directly to the neural data, with the aim of visualising the degree to which different parts of the reward system are optimistic or pessimistic about future rewards. If successful, this would be the first time such a code has been demonstrated in humans.

Lab Rotation 2

Berg Lab, Department of Neuroscience, University of Copenhagen w/PI Associate Professor Rune Berg

During her second rotation, Kelly is staying at the Berg lab at the Department of Neuroscience, University of Copenhagen. Here, she will be contributing to research of how the nervous system generates locomotion and other types of movement using rodents as experimental subject. In addition to participating in surgeries, she is working on mapping placement of probes in the brain and spinal cord using high resolution magnetic resonance imaging (9.4T preclinical Bruker scanner) in conjunction with regular histology.

Lab Rotation 3

Department of Linguistics, Cognitive Science and Semiotics, Aarhus University, Assistant Professor Lau Møller Andersen

Meet Kelly Hoogervorst

Kelly Hoogervorst comes into the NAD programme with a keen interest in cognition, consciousness and decision-making – and a strong conviction to challenge herself.

Kelly Hoogervorst obtained her master’s degree in Biomedical Sciences (Cognitive Neurobiology and Clinical Neurophysiology track) from the University of Amsterdam in 2023. During her master’s, she did an internship in the Embodied Computation Group at Aarhus University, continuing to work in the lab as a research assistant after completing her degree. Kelly considers herself a decision-making and consciousness researcher, with most of her previous experience centering on fundamental neuroscience research in humans.

During her education, Kelly has been involved in a number of programmes for students who want to take the extra step in their education, and she sees the NAD programme as the natural next move in challenging herself:

”NAD is a group of students who are exceptionally motivated coming together with different interests and trying to lift each other up. (..) Defining your own PhD project is also an extra challenge, which I like. You get to make the plan yourself,” Kelly explains.

Kelly also emphasises the collaborative and explorative aspect of the NAD programme as a key factor in her decision to apply for the programme:

”NAD is the integration of all this neuroscience knowledge that exists on different islands and trying to pull that together. That is also a mindset I acquired during my bachelor’s, but of course, you also grow into one of those islands, so I am very happy to be able to get that explorative mindset back,” Kelly explains.

During her rotations, Kelly wants to dive deeper into her field of interest, but ideally, she also wants to take the opportunity to broaden her scope before embarking on her PhD project journey:

“There is going to be a very slight chance that I will be able to marry human and animal or cell research during a three-year PhD. I am still wrestling with whether I want to do a rotation like that to see if I can get some of those skills back that I once worked with and take a few lessons from that, or if I want to focus on more directly applicable skills that I can really take into my PhD project,” Kelly says.

Kelly will do her first rotation with Senior Researcher Oliver Hulme of the Computational Neuroscience and Reward Group at Danish Research Centre for Magnetic Resonance:

“What fits seamlessly with Oliver and his work and my previous experiment experience is that I am pretty good at statistics and I have also done some behavioural modeling. Oliver does modeling of data and machine learning on imaging data, so I think it is the perfect marriage of things I already know and the things I want to be able to do”, Kelly explains.