uni:docs Fellow Theresa Zekoll stellt sich vor


Theresa Zekoll ist Doktorandin am Zentrum für Molekulare Biologie und seit Oktober uni:docs Fellow der Universität Wien. In einem kurzen Interview stellt sich Theresa Zekoll vor.

  • Please describe your research project in three sentences

My project focusses on the impact of light on the brain via light sensitive cells that are located outside the eyes. Going back to experiments performed by famous Austrian Karl von Frisch increasing evidence has accumulated over many decades that light can not only penetrate the skull and brain of vertebrates, but impacts on such light receptors outside of the eyes and the pineal organ to modulate behavior and physiology. Using medaka and zebrafish as model systems, I aim to determine the function of a specific photoreceptor family expressed in the brain of various vertebrates, called teleost-multiple-tissue (TMT) Opsins.

  • Looking back to the uni:docs application process, what was the biggest challenge for you?

The most challenging part was to explain and discuss my project with the interview panel, who are not particularly familiar with my research topic, in a clear and understandable manner. My supervisor was very helpful for me to feel well prepared for the interview.

  • When did you decide to pursue an academic career? Was there a key moment?

I always found a lot of joy learning scientific subjects at school and knew very early that I would go on to study Molecular Biology. No defining or memorable key moment led to me deciding to pursue a scientific career but I wanted to do something I enjoy and excel at. This is how I got into choosing a PhD in molecular neurosciences.

  • About Theresa Zekoll:

Originally born in Salzburg, I was privileged to grow up in Brussels within a very international environment. After undertaking my bachelor studies in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Sheffield, I returned to Austria to pursue my M.Sc. degree in Biomedicine and Biotechnology at the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna. For my master thesis, I joined the Tofaris lab at the Nuffield department of clinical neurosciences in Oxford, working with induced pluripotent stem cells in the context of Parkinson’s disease.