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Carla Christianne Schmidt (2018-2021) Carla Christianne Schmidt

Project: Investigations on pre- and postsynaptic plasticity

Supervisor: Prof Nigel Emptage

 Lab team

 I graduated from Friedrich-Alexander University in Erlangen, Germany, with a BSc and MSc in Molecular Medicine. As a research assistant at the Universtätsklinikum Erlangen, I was able to gain significant lab experience and particularly in the fields of immunology and genetics. However, I was always primarily interested in neuroscience. My research projects during my early studies focused on investigating synaptic plasticity within the brain. As part of my Master’s degree, I came to Oxford for an internship in Prof Emptage’s lab (Department of Pharmacology) where I investigated presynaptic NMDA receptors and their role in synaptic plasticity. In 2018, I joined Prof Emptage’s lab as a DPhil student. I am using electrophysiology as well as in vitro and in vivo imaging to study synaptic transmission and plasticity. Specifically, we are using a minimally-invasive imaging device for high-resolution deep-brain imaging to study the relationship between synapses and learning and memory. In addition to my academic career, playing sports has always been a big part of my life. When I began my DPhil, I started playing for Oxford University Rugby club (OURFC). Rugby is not a popular sport in Germany; prior to moving to the UK I didn’t know the rules of the game and had never seen a game. However, I quickly progressed from the development team to playing in the second team. In December 2019, after several months of hard training, I had the opportunity to play for the first team of OURFC at Twickenham in the very prestigious Varsity match between Oxford and Cambridge. Although sometimes stressful, the intense training sessions provide the perfect balance to my life in the lab.

The DPhil funding provided by the MRC and the Department of Pharmacology has given me the opportunity to pursue my interests in neuroscience. The MRC generously supported me through a travel grant to attend one of the best summer schools for in vivo imaging in Québec in 2019. The MRC DTP supports me in my pursuit of my academic career goals and my athletic ambitions.

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