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WHAT ARE YOU RESEARCHING?

I am a first year DPhil student in Clinical Neurosciences with Professor Peter Brown as my primary supervisor. I am studying non-invasive treatment for tremor in Parkinson’s disease and essential tremor. During my first year, I have worked with patients with Parkinson’s disease and developed research skills in data analysis. My work involves collecting data describing the patients’ tremor in real time and applying to the patients’ arm non-invasive peripheral nerve stimulation to investigate the tremor characteristics and how these change upon stimulation.

WHAT WERE YOU DOING BEFORE COMING TO OXFORD?

I was born and raised in Jundiaí, in the countryside of São Paulo, Brazil. I received a scholarship to attend one of the best Brazilian high schools, which led me to start my undergraduate studies at Brown University, USA, in 2015. During my first year there, I discovered the research field of Neuroengineering and became passionate about it. Aiming to develop skills for my research, I obtained a double major in Biomedical Engineering and Neuroscience.

One of my main goals as a researcher has always been to impact lives in my home country through science and technology. While applying for PhD programs, I looked for laboratories that would enable me to use my experience in neuroscience and engineering and to study motor control while conducting research that could potentially result in lower cost neurotechnology accessible to low-income populations in developing countries. Joining Professor Brown’s research group and working on non-invasive treatment for tremor perfectly fit these personal and academic goals.

WHAT’S THE BEST THING ABOUT YOUR DPHIL?

Throughout my first year in Oxford, I have received constant support from my supervisors and lab mates. With supervisors from both clinical and engineering backgrounds, I have had access to different perspectives on my project. I have learned a lot from my lab community, from being trained on conducting experiments to receiving valuable advice on transitioning to life in Oxford. Before the coronavirus outbreak, we had daily lab lunches – which have now been replaced by occasional socially-distant picnics at parks.

Both the NDCN and my college, Green Templeton College (GTC) have given me many resources for personal development. Being very interested in science communication and in fostering an inclusive, diverse STEM community, I joined the NDCN Public Engagement Ambassador Scheme, which has given me the opportunity to further develop those interests and to get involved with public engagement initiatives in Oxford. 

I am an International Students Representative in GTC’s student committee, which allowed me to organise events for the GTC community and to learn more about how the college is run. I am also a treasurer for the Oxford University Brazilian Society, which hosts various social and academic events, and I practise capoeira, an Afro-Brazilian martial art, with people from different countries. 

It is important for me to continue being connected with my home country and to share my own culture with people from various backgrounds while learning from theirs. The city of Oxford has plenty of opportunities for that and a vibrant, diverse international community. Despite the unusual circumstances of my first year in Oxford, it has become a home for me.

If anyone has any questions or would like any advice on applying for the DPhil with the NDCN at Oxford, please reach me out at beatriz.arruda@gtc.ox.ac.uk.