Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour
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Nader Marzban

Date of news: 1 March 2017

nader_marzbanFor this month's The Life Of…, we interviewed Nader Marzban. Nader is a PhD student at the DCN, in the Synchrony in Neural Systems group run by Mike X Cohen. He is also the Social Outreach Coordinator on the DCN PhD council, coming up with and organizing social events.

What's your name, nationality, current function, and department?

I am Nader from Iran and currently doing my PhD at Cognitive Neuroscience Department (DCN) in the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behavior.

What is the topic of your PhD project and what does your work look like in practice?

The subject of my project is “The resonance of the dopamine system” by which we aim to look at the effects of dopamine, as a neurotransmitter in the brain, on neural networks involved in many functions such as learning, memory, attention, movement, reward processing and motivation. Disruption in the dopamine system is associated with many clinical disorders including major depression, schizophrenia, autism, addiction and Parkinson. What we would like to do is specifically activate dopamine neurons by light in different frequencies and see the effects of such frequencies on the large scale neural network dynamic. This knowledge is important both both for fundamental scientific understanding and in working towards treatments of dopamine related disorders.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a pilot.

Although I didn’t achieve my dream to be someone who flies on sky and reach people to their destinations safely, I became another pilot who is flying through papers in science, books, libraries, laboratories, new methods et cetera and hope to reach more, more and more people safe back to life by this way. Although it is a big statement, I am through this path and pass it as much as I am capable of doing that.

What has your career path been so far and how did you come to your
current position?

I have done my bachelor in biology in Iran in which I met a really amazing professor who was encouraging me to pursue my education abroad and thoroughly changed my life. As English was the main challenge for me at that time, I started learning it over 7 months intensively and as I remember, I was even talking to myself while showering in bath to practice speaking. After 7 months fighting to speak, listen, write and read English, I passed the IELTS English test successfully and moved to Norway to do my master education in neuroscience at NTNU and with honor I can say that working on my thesis in Kavli Institute in specially with May-Britt and Edvard Moser opened my mind through new technologies and methods and, in general, a great insight towards Neuroscience. In 2014, the Mosers won the Nobel prize in Physiology and Medicine. Now, I am in the Donders Institute and working on the project I was looking for to be on.

What is your favorite book and why?

The Alchemist ( by Paulo Coelho.

Highly recommend you to read it!!! The last page of the book will give us a lesson to think more and using the frontal lobe of the brain more! :)

What is an important life lesson you have learned in the past?

Life is full of trial and errors. We should never give up and keep our efforts towards success.

What is the most important advice you want to share with Donders PhD

Well, whenever I want to advise somebody I feel old as advice usually comes from grandpas and grandmas :). Anyway, the biggest advice is to communicate with people as much as possible. Communication makes our life easier and we learn from people a lot.

Is there a project or anything you're involved with that you'd like to

Yes. This project that I am involved in, through PhD career, would give me more open opportunities to direct it towards other directions and I am so interested on working on it.