Danielle Lauren Kurtin: ‘I was taught by scientists and clinicians who are leaders in their field’

What is your name?

Danielle Lauren Kurtin

Where are you from?

A sleepy fishing town called Stuart, in Florida, USA

To which class you belong to?

MSc Translational Neuroscience, Class of 2019

Where and what did you study before joining Imperial College London?

I completed my BSc in Biological Sciences with a minor in Chemistry at Florida State University in hopes of attending medical school. During the long application period to medical school, I worked in Amsterdam at the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience. Inspired by the neuroscience research I was exposed to, I wanted to continue on a research trajectory, and applied to the MSc Translational Neuroscience!

How did you find your Master experience at the College?

Inspiring, deeply educational, and transformative

Which research project did you work on?

I worked with Dr Lucia Li in the Computational, Cognitive, and Clinical Neuroimaging Laboratory (C3NL). I explored specific parameters of a tool called transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) applied to patients with traumatic brain injury

Where are you now? 

I am now completing my PhD at the University of Surrey, in partnership with Imperial College London

What are you working on?

I am working on many projects! I have developed a cognitive task to collect behavioral data online before performing neuroimaging experiments with EEG and fMRI. I am writing a review on different models of neural network dynamics. I organize the Monthly Mini Hacks (MMH) workshops through the Surrey Reproducibility Society. I also contribute to the ‘Adapt to Postgrad’ online pre-arrival course for incoming Faculty of Medicine Master’s students commencing study at the College

What is the most important lesson you learnt as a Master student?
Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. During my MSc, I learned how to be comfortable despite not knowing all the answers, tear my results apart to make sure they are rock-solid, and learn more every day

How did the Master programme help you get to where you are now?

My Master program helped me in several ways. I was taught by scientists and clinicians who are leaders in their field. I learnt the practical skills necessary to conduct research, especially for fMRI data analysis: there is no substitute for practical experience, and my project definitely provided a rich learning experience. In addition to this, it was the first exposure I had to the University structure. I was grateful to be a class representative, and subsequently, one of the Postgraduate Representatives for the Faculty of Medicine Board of Education. This allowed me to observe and learn how an educational institution is developed, guided, and supported by academics dedicated to providing a stellar education to their postgraduates students. Last, but certainly not least, my Master is what confirmed I wanted to pursue a career in academia, and the reason I am now completing my PhD!


Picture credit: Andy Pritchard