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Rubicon awarded to neuroscientist Simeen Tabassi Mofrad

Neuroscientist Simeen Tabassi Mofrad has been awarded a Rubicon grant to conduct research on cortical and allelic determinants of age-related cognitive decline at University of Oxford. She holds the first rank among all Rubicon applicants in NWO Domain Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH).

Why did you apply for a Rubicon grant?

'Rubicon provides the opportunity to gain experience also at a prestigious university abroad which is very important for one’s career development. Besides, by this grant one can work on their own research project and that affords independence and also investment in research interests. These have been very good reasons to choose to apply for Rubicon grant.'

You will be uncovering the ageing processes of the brain. What do these processes entail?

‘Uncovering brain behaviour in age-related cognitive decline involves thorough mapping of brain functional connectivity in regions of interest, investigating brain white matter microstructure in addition to its macrostructure, for instance length, diameter, and volume.’

Simeen Tabassi Mofrad

What is the connection between these ageing processes and linguistics?

‘In terms of how language can be affected by the ageing process, I think we all have witnessed word finding failures, increases in pauses in speech and slips of the tongue in the elderly. In fact, language production ability decreases as we age. It is noteworthy that not all aspects of language are influenced by ageing. For example, semantic processing which is constructing the meaning of words and sentences by the cognitive system has proved to be well maintained.’

What are you looking forward to in your time abroad?

‘Continuing my interdisciplinary research now in Neuroscience of Ageing at University of Oxford, building further networks with research centres, and also working toward future international research collaborations’.

What will you miss about the Netherlands?

‘I will miss the ones who facilitated my scientific development at Leiden University and I would like to thank them all. I had the privilege to work with wonderful people in Leiden University Centre for Linguistics, Leiden Institute for Brain and Cognition, and Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences and the research experiences that I gained have been stepping stones to further success. I will also miss this beautiful country and all my favourite places such as Scheveningen’.

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