Month: November 2020

Alexandra Rother: ‘My wet-lab and independent working skills improved during my Master’s thesis’

What is your name?

Alexandra Rother

Where are you from?

Munich, Germany

To which class you belong to?

MSc Translational Neuroscience, Class of 2018

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

BSc Molecular Biotechnology at the Technical University of Munich

How did you find your Master experience at the College?

While it was an intense year, I learnt a lot, beyond subject-related matters, and I met amazing people, including close friends

Which research project did you work on?

I worked on a project about a mutation in familial Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in the Laboratory headed by Professor Jacqueline de Belleroche

Where are you now? 

I am a PhD student in the Denk Lab at the Max-Planck-Institute of Neurobiology in Germany

What are you working on?

In my PhD project, I am focusing on songbird connectomics and on how songbirds learn their species-specific song. I am using electron microscopic data to analyse the brain circuit responding to song learning on a synaptic level. Additionally, my PhD also involves work on sample preparation for the electron microscope

What is the most important lesson you learnt as a Master student?

To never give up and use the opportunity to learn new skills as you might end up liking them. For me, that was the case when I was introduced to coding and computational neuroscience where I was surprised how much I actually enjoyed it

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

As mentioned above, it made me realize that I also enjoyed analysis outside of the lab, giving me a few basic programming skills that I am expanding in my PhD now. Also, my BSc programme was very general, so the MSc programme gave me Neuroscience-specific knowledge. My wet-lab and independent working skills improved during my Master’s thesis, while presentation skills developed throughout the general course, as did my English. Overall, learning so many new things within this year gave me the confidence to start my PhD in a more fundamental neurobiological subject, namely quite different from what I worked on previously