Annika Mordelt

Portrait Annika Mordelt
I think the communication at Radboud University is extremely good and I feel valued as a student.
Name
Annika Mordelt
Programme
Cognitive Neuroscience (research)
Study start date
Study end date
Previous education
Bachelor of Science in Medical Biology at University Duisburg-Essen in Germany

Annika Mordelt was a Master's student in Cognitive Neuroscience (research) at Radboud University and specialised in Plasticity and Memory.

What did you like about the programme and why? 

The best thing about my programme was for sure my peers. This may sound very cliche, but the people I met in my Master's programme are truly amazing. Everyone comes from a very different background ranging from Artificial Intelligence or Computing Sciences to Psychology and Biomedical Sciences. This means that every student has different expertise and views on certain topics, but at the same time we are all interested in the human brain. This connects everyone immediately. Furthermore, exchanging ideas and studying certain topics with people that do not have the same background as you is awesome.

What did you think about the atmosphere in class?

The Cognitive Neuroscience programme has a familiar and friendly atmosphere. This may be due to the fact that the cohort was relatively small as well as that we all share similar interests. Friendships along second-year and first-year students are very common. The overall atmosphere is great and I never had any bad experiences. The same can be said for the relationship between teachers and students. Coming from a German university, I think the communication at Radboud University is extremely good and I felt valued as a student. From my experience, the teachers really want you to learn as much as you can and are trying to help you shape your career.

What did you find most challenging in your Master’s programme? 

Since the Cognitive Neuroscience Master's programme is very interdisciplinary and a broad range of skills is taught, you will encounter new things that are very far from your comfort zone and the things you learned during your Bachelor's. Coming from a biomedical background, this Master's really pushed me out of this comfort zone in terms of maths, programming, artificial intelligence approaches, et cetera. However, being able to understand these things in the end is a very satisfying feeling. It really broadens your knowledge and gives you small insights in the many fields out there next to your main interest. Sometimes, it was hard to go from my very beloved cells to a more psychological and cognitive level, but I am happy I had this experience.

What was your thesis about?

The entire second year of my Master's programme consisted of a big research project ending with writing your Master's thesis. I have conducted research at the Molecular Neurophysiology group at Radboudumc. I investigated the role of epigenetic regulations of autophagy in relation to neurodevelopmental disorders. Therefore, induced pluripotent stem cells from patients are used to study phenotypes reminiscent of clinical disorders. Additionally, the department works with genetically modified (CRISPR/Cas9) cell lines.

Why do you think it is important that there are people with this degree? What are your plans once you have received your Master's degree?

I think it is important to conduct (fundamental) research to better understand disorders eventually leading to improvement of treatment options. Having a Master's in such an interdisciplinary field as Cognitive Neuroscience allows for a broad approach to problems. By not only having the lower levels like molecules/cells in mind, but also being aware of the entire-brain-level and associated cognitive processes, cognitive neuroscience students are trained to aim for the bigger picture. After graduation, my plans are to apply for a PhD programme in the field of neurophysiology/neuroscience.