NAD Fellow year: 2024

Kora Tristan Montemagno

Education
MD, University of Milan
Country
Italy

Lab rotations - pre-PhD year

Lab Rotation 1

Brain Network Modulation Group, Danish Research Centre for Magnetic Resonance, Copenhagen University Hospitals – Hvidovre Hospital w/PI Professor Hartwig Roman Siebner

At DRCMR, Kora is working on mapping cortical interactions that contribute to the motor command exiting the brain through the corticospinal tract. Until recently, this has only been possible to study with invasive recordings. At DRCMR, they recently developed a novel way of studying the immediate brain response to transcranial magnetic stimulation using electroencephalography. Alongside an international team of researchers, Kora is at the forefront of DRCMR’s efforts to further develop this method to reveal cortical signatures  of excitatory and inhibitory activity.

 

Meet Kora Tristan Montemagno

Coming into the NAD programme with a medical background, Kora Montemagno is looking forward to exploring their varied research interests during the pre-PhD year.

Kora Montemagno completed their medical degree from the University of Milan in July 2023:

”I feel like the imposter here (…) because my background is more of a clinical one rather than a research one. During my education, however, I took rotations in clinical wards connected to laboratories in Milan, Cincinnati and London. I have mainly been in contact with patients with movement disorders like Parkinson’s disease and dystonia,” Kora explains.

For their master’s thesis, Kora was involved in developing a computational neural model for interpreting findings obtained through non-linear analyses of the local field potentials of the subthalamic nucleus in Parkinson’s disease, using computational models to aid in understanding physiological processes on a cellular level.

Kora is intensely curious and has many research interests – so many, in fact, that, during their last year of medical school, they started an undergraduate degree in Physics. While they had to give up on this degree in favour of the NAD programme, Kora feels that the introductory year has allowed them to learn something about mathematics and physics as well as basic computational skills that they will be able to use going forward.

During the pre-PhD year, Kora wants to hone in on what interests them the most:

“I have a lot of interests, not only in science but also in philosophy and arts, and I would like to explore them a little bit more. I am starting to understand that I might be drawn to systems neuroscience, and I think I will stick with this part for now. (…) I want to make the most of this first year by mixing different approaches and seeing what I really do like,” Kora says.

For their first rotation, Kora will join the lab of Professor Hartwig Siebner at the Danish Research Centre for Magnetic Resonance at Hvidovre Hospital. For one of their later rotations, Kora would like to work in Professor Micah Allen’s lab, focusing more on computational neuroscience, like predictive Bayesian models for explaining the relationship between interoception and cognition, but they are also keeping an open mind about any opportunities that may arise during the first year.

When asked about the benefits of participating in the NAD programme, Kora emphasises the openness of the Danish neuroscience community and the autonomy of the programme:

“The environment is international and less hierarchical compared to what I am accustomed to. Moving abroad and having different experiences can really help you understand how to interact in a research environment and get used to an interdisciplinary approach. (…) I also like how the programme is structured, as I feel that it will grant me autonomy in order to make my own decision about my research project,” Kora explains.