Member of the Month- Dr. Antonina Kouli

Dr. Antonina Kouli (PhD Clinical Neurosciences, 2015) is a Research Associate in the Department of Clinical Neurosciences. She is this year's Workshop Officer at the Wolfson Research Event (WRE) where she is involved in organising workshops to help select participants prepare their posters and presentations. The annual WRE is taking on a different form this year as an online webinar series.


Antonina kouli

1)  How did you come to study at Wolfson College?
I came to Wolfson in 2015 to start a PhD in Clinical Neurosciences.  I was very surprised to feel at home just a week after I arrived, and Wolfson turned out to be a huge part of the Cambridge experience for me. It is a friendly and vibrant community with modern ideas and full of interesting people. Three years weren’t enough, so I have now come back for more as a newly-appointed Junior Research Fellow!

2) What is your current occupation and how did you get into this role?
I am currently working as a Research Associate at the University of Cambridge in the Department of Clinical Neurosciences. After completing my PhD in 2019, I had the opportunity to stay in my research lab and build upon my previous work. My research is focused on better understanding the role of the immune system in Parkinson’s disease aiming to inform clinical trials of immunosuppressive therapies to halt or delay the disease progression. My day to day is roughly divided in half between the lab and clinical studies involving brain imaging and biomarker analysis in people who suffer from Parkinson’s. 

3) What do you most enjoy about your job?
The variety, the independence and the people. When working in the lab no two days are the same, there is always something new to try, a new hypothesis to explore, and this makes the work enjoyable. I also love the freedom to plan my work, design my own experiments and direct my research to questions I find interesting. Finally, being surrounded by leading scientists in my field makes me feel very privileged. I always get very excited when I meet people whose work I admire.

4) How have your studies at Wolfson helped you in your career?
Wolfson has supported me in every step of the way, starting from helping to fund my studies. I received the Alborada studentship from the College, and without this support it would have been very difficult to complete my PhD. In that sense, Wolfson gave a big boost to my career from the very beginning. I also benefited from many people who were there to make the students’ life easier while pursuing our degrees; porters, cleaners, librarians, tutors and so many more. I never expected I would have that much support and it felt very reassuring to have this network behind me. 

Wolfson is also a very academically-engaging environment which gave me the unique opportunity to expand my network both in my field and outside of it. I’ve met people from disciplines that I didn’t even know existed and this has greatly expanded my way of thinking. Wolfson now continues to invest in my career by appointing me a Junior Fellow, and I look forward to more exciting times ahead.

5) What is your fondest memory of your time at Wolfson?
I very much enjoyed working at the Wolfson bar. Almost everyone in the College would hang out in the club room from time to time, students, fellows and staff, and I got to meet everyone! I’ve had some of the most interesting conversations during that time and made great friends. I loved the busy shifts during the bops, the fun comedy nights of the Wolfson Howler, but also those quiet evenings during summertime when my friends would come to hang out with me. I can’t help but smile when I remember a note that was written on the wall behind the bar by a previous student “this is the best job you will ever have”.

6) What is the best piece of advice you've ever been given?
Keep a healthy balance. Work hard and do your best but don’t forget to take care of yourself, cherish your relationships and your family.
7) Which book has had the greatest impact on you?
“Wild swans: Three daughters of China” is a memoir of the lives of three generations of women in 20th century China. I found this book both educating and deeply moving, and it is definitely one that is hard to forget.

What's on

Judas Tree

Cambridge Festival: Tree Trail

17/03/2023 at 10.00

A self-guided Tree Trail around the beautiful and varied garden 'rooms' of the grounds of Wolfson College.

Wolfson Gardens

Cambridge Festival: Garden Tour

23/03/2023 at 14.00

Take some time out of your day to engage your senses with the sights and sounds of Wolfson's plants and wildlife.

Graduands and Wolfson Flag

March 2023 Graduation Dinner

24/03/2023 at 18.30

We are excited to welcome our graduands for dinner in College!

Wolfson graduands

Graduation Ceremony

25/03/2023 at 09.00

Graduation ceremonies are the culmination of students’ hard work and commitment, and a moment to celebrate the completion of their Cambridge degree.

Photograph by Hannah Lister

Art Exhibition: 'Signs for the Living'

25/03/2023 at 10.00

Visit Wolfson's latest exhibition 'Signs for the Living' featuring work by Hannah Lister, winner of this year's Wolfson Royal Academy Schools Graduate prize.