NAD Fellow year: 2024

Viktor Wisniewski Bendtsen

MSc in Nanoscience, Aarhus University

Lab rotations - pre-PhD year

Lab Rotation 1

Embodied Computation Group, Center of Functionally Integrative Neuroscience, Aarhus University w/PI Professor Micah Allen

During his rotation, Viktor will delve into the study of decision-making, learning and cognitive map models in computational neuroscience, alongside hands-on work in an fMRI experiment on pain perception and thermosensation. He also engages with formal mathematics literature to conduct theoretical work on computational models.

Lab Rotation 2

Analysis Group, Center of Functionally Integrative Neuroscience, Aarhus University w/PI Professor Diego Vidaurre

For his second rotation, Viktor will be working on a schizophrenia-related project using state-of-the-art machine learning methods and Neuropixel data from wet-lab collaborators. He will analyze data from two cohorts of mice, one healthy and the other having a mutation expressing a protein inducing changes in PV+ inhibitory neurons. This type of impairment in PV+ neurons is known to occur in schizophrenia patients, but the extent to which it affects network activity is currently unknown. Using tensor decomposition methods, Viktor aims to find patterns in structural and functional connectivity across neurons that can be attributed to the mutation.

Meet Viktor Wisniewski Bendtsen

With a background in nanoscience, Viktor Wisniewski Bendtsen is excited to further explore his interest in cognitive phenomena like memory, decision-making processes and learning during the pre-PhD year.

Viktor Wisniewski Bendtsen obtained his master’s degree in Nanoscience from Aarhus University in 2023:

“I discovered early on (…) that I found the mind and brain very interesting. Later during my studies I found that I was more interested in what happens in the brain as opposed to studying nanoscience, which tends to focus on materials and nanomedicine. That is why I chose to write my master’s thesis in Poul Nissen’s lab to move into this new direction,” Viktor explains. He continues:

“What I have been doing until now is mostly molecular neuroscience in which I have been working with mathematical modelling on a theoretical level. Going forward, I would like to investigate cognitive phenomena like memory, decision-making processes and learning, describing them from a computational and theoretical perspective – while still connecting it to the neural activity in the circuits involved in these cognitive functions. A transition from something theoretical to a mixture of theoretical and experimental, although I am still in the process of determining the balance between the two approaches.”

For his first lab rotation, Viktor will join the Embodied Computation Group at Center for Functionally Integrative Neuroscience, Aarhus University led by Professor Micah Allen:

“We have adopted an open approach, evolving the project during the lab rotation. Currently, the plan involves me following an fMRI experiment, exploring behavioral experiment design, and delving into the literature on cognitive maps,” Viktor explains.

Coming from nanoscience, Viktor is grateful for the opportunities for strengthening his neuroscience skills the pre-PhD year provides:

“It is a great opportunity to join different labs and get some hands-on experience with different experimental methods, making it easier for me to navigate opportunities when I need to define a PhD project (…)  I expect that I will need to focus to keep up, but I see it as an experience, and I really want to move around as much as possible. I think it is great that I will have the opportunity to be in different research environments to see where I fit in,” Viktor says.