NAD Fellow year: 2024

Pedro H. Coelho-Cordeiro

MSc in Neuropsychopharmacology, University of Brasilia

Lab rotations - pre-PhD year

Lab Rotation 1

Lauritzen Lab, Department of Neuroscience, University of Copenhagen w/PI Professor Martin Lauritzen

In the first week of the rotation, Pedro was able to watch what all the members of the lab were doing so he could choose the project he was most interested in. He ended up choosing a project led by Assistant Professor Barbara Lind, and for the rest of his rotation, he will be involved in analyzing data from vasculature changes, calcium activity in astrocytes and neurons, and also behavior correlates (like whisker moving and locomotion) with physiological changes.

Pedro has had the chance to experience how a big and dynamic lab works. From the first day, he was able to watch a surgery to place a glass cranial window in a mouse as well as seeing for the first time the dynamics of brain vessels in a behaving animal. From cells to living organisms, Pedro is happy to see how powerful imaging techniques are. Coming from an electrophysiological background in which you can ‘hear’ the cells, being able to watch what is behind this orchestrated symphony has been very interesting for Pedro.

Meet Pedro H. Coelho-Cordeiro

With an interest in electrophysiology, stemming from a deep interest in gaining an insight into how our thoughts are formed, Pedro H. Coelho-Cordeiro is excited to start the next chapter of his research career in Denmark.

Pedro H. Coelho-Cordeiro completed his master’s degree in Neuropsychopharmacology from the University of Brasilia in 2023. Pedro’s main current research interest lies within electrophysiology:

“I am interested in electrophysiology and the electrophysiological basis of psychiatric disorders, more specifically schizophrenia. During my bachelor’s, I worked with primates in a model of schizophrenia, and during my master’s degree, I also worked with a schizophrenia model, this time in rats. Right now, my main interest is high density electrophysiological recording, which allows you to measure different brain areas with very accurate time stamps and see what is happening inside the brain in real time,” Pedro explains.

For his first lab rotation, Pedro will join the Lauritzen Lab at the Department of Neuroscience where he will gain experience within calcium imaging and two-photon microscopy. For his later rotations, Pedro is thinking about joining a group where he would have the opportunity to try out electrophysiological techniques like patch clamp in for example brain slices or brain cells.

Pedro’s interest in neuroscience was sparked in high school when he read a book by Plato for a philosophy exam. Amazed by the thoughts formulated in the book, he was especially interested in understanding how these thoughts were born in the mind. Pedro considered studying psychology or medicine, but eventually settled on biology as he found that this would give him the best background in order to further explore his interest in neuroscience.

When asked about what led him to apply for the NAD PhD programme, Pedro highlights the rotations and the autonomy:

“I think the rotations are a really good opportunity for you to analyse your opportunities. You can go into a lab and see some new techniques or be introduced to some news areas – and maybe change your whole pathway in neuroscience”, Pedro says. “I also think the autonomy that we will have is very interesting. You come into a group with your own resources, which allows you to be very independent.”

Pedro recently completed an internship in Denmark in connection with his master’s degree – in the Petersen Lab at the Department of Neuroscience, University of Copenhagen – and he is excited for his big move abroad:

“I really think that going abroad is something that will give me a lot of different opportunities in the future. I also want to be an inspiration to other Brazilians or Latin Americans who want to study or work abroad,” Pedro says.