NAD Fellow year: 2023

Simrandeep Kaur Sidhu

MSc in Neuroscience, University of Copenhagen

PhD Project

Project title

Restoration of Locomotor Function in Parkinsonian Mouse Model by Selective Activation of Brainstem Command Neurons

PhD lab
Kiehn Lab, Department of Neuroscience
University of Copenhagen
Main supervisor
Professor Ole Kiehn
Associate Professor Celia Kjærby, Center for Translational Neuromedicine, University of Copenhagen
Assistant Professor Roberto Leiras, Department of Neuroscience, University of Copenhagen
Professor Hartwig Roman Siebner, Danish Research Centre for Magnetic Resonance, Copenhagen University Hospital Amager & Hvidovre

Lab rotations - pre-PhD year

Lab Rotation 1

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

The lab’s focus on systems neuroscience aligns with Simran’s interests, and she will participate in the lab’s work on sleep and memory and gain familiarity with techniques like fiber photometry.

Lab Rotation 2

Nabavi Lab, DANDRITE, Aarhus University w/PI Associate Professor Sadegh Nabavi

Simran is completing her second rotation at the Sadegh Nabavi Lab at DANDRITE, Aarhus University. She is working under the supervision of Assistant Professor Noemie Mermet-Joret. During her rotation, Simran will learn how to do in-vivo calcium imaging using micro-endoscope in mice. She will record the activity of the neurons in the medial prefrontal cortex in mice exposed to a naturalistic form of learning called Trace Fear Conditioning in which two associated events are separated in time by tens of seconds.

Lab Rotation 3

Allodi Lab, Department of Neuroscience, University of Copenhagen w/PI Assistant Professor Ilary Allodi

In the Allodi lab, Simran is studying the fate of spinal inhibitory interneurons in a mouse model of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis by combining multiplexing detection of transcripts and machine learning-based identification of neurons. Here, she uses a mouse carrying the human superoxide dismutase 1 mutation (SOD1G93A) crossed with transgenic mice expressing the TdTomato reporter under the Engrailed-1 promoter – to visualize our interneurons of interest. She is investigating transcript expression at four different timepoints, postnatal day 45, 63, 84 and 112 to understand when these interneurons die in disease.

Meet Simrandeep Kaur Sidhu

Simrandeep Kaur Sidhu obtained her MSc in Neuroscience from the University of Copenhagen in 2022. Since then, she has been working as a research assistant in the Kiehn lab at the Department of Neuroscience, University of Copenhagen.

Simran is especially interested in research related to systems neuroscience and motor control:

“It is through movement that our brain can communicate with our environment – it is essential in our interactions with our surroundings and crucial for our survival. (…) I am interested in investigating which circuits are responsible for the fact that we can carry out and control movement, but also how these circuits can be compromised in different diseases, for example Parkinson’s disease.”

Simran did her master’s thesis on Parkinson’s disease, and she is interested in doing research related to this disease in the future – but she also wants to see what else is out there. She believes the lab rotations during the pre-PhD year will provide great opportunity for experiencing different research environments, acquiring new skills and establishing connections that might form the basis of collaborations in the future.

Simran characterises herself as extremely result-oriented: “I push through because I want to see results. (…) Of course, you do not always see results, and when you do not, it can be frustrating (…) but in a way, that is also what is motivating about research. Okay, that did not work – what can I do to make it work?”