Hilyah Audah

Hilyah – Doctoral student in Clinical Research

Meet Hilyah Audah, a current doctoral student at the University of Turku and an UTUambassador 2023-2024!

"Hiya! I’m Hilyah, from Indonesia, a first-year doctoral researcher in the Doctoral Programme in Clinical Research. I did my master’s here at UTU in the Human Neuroscience programme (MDPHN). I chose this programme because of its multidisciplinary approach to Neuroscience. I discovered Turku is buzzing with neuroscience research, with Turku Brain and Mind Center and Neurocenter Finland. I love how supportive my supervisors and work colleagues are, so I decided to stay here after my master’s and do a PhD!

My inspiration is human emotions (a.k.a. Affective Neuroscience). My master’s thesis was about the neural networks of fear in infants. I am continuing this work during my Ph.D. as part of the FinnBrain Birth Cohort Study. This is a unique opportunity in my career (something I’ve always dreamed of doing) to be part of a longitudinal study. I work with a variety of data from babies to tweens!

I used to think I was a big city girl, but living in Turku has changed my mind. I love the tranquility here, and I quite like the dark and cold. It gives me more excuses to huddle under a blanket and have tons of fairy lights!

Feel free to reach out if you have any Qs about Turku or chat about Neuroscience!"

Instagram: @hilyahaudah 


Hilyah's study experience

Tell more about your programme and why you chose it!

I initially wanted to major in Psychology. Having grown up moving from country to country, I was intrigued by how people are shaped into the individuals they are now. My dad (who is also a researcher/professor in biochemistry), advised me to look outside the scope of Psychology for better career prospects. That's where I stumbled upon Neuroscience, and ended up doing my undergrad in Psychology with Neuropsychology. Its been quite a journey since!

What has been the most interesting course for you so far?

So far in my studies, the course Consciousness and Brain has been quite a brain-picker and has pushed me to think of my research from other perspectives. I'm currently doing Psychiatry and Neuroimaging Methods courses which I was most excited for.

I started getting into Neuroimaging during my undergrad, and even did my thesis using MRI. It’s a rapidly growing crucial method of Neuroscience research. UTU has amazing resources for Neuroimaging, and I'm hoping to be involved and learn as many methods as possible. One of the projects I'm most looking forward to is my master's thesis, I'll be using EEG to look at emotion perception in children. That's all I can say for now.

What are your future career plans?

My career plans have always been to teach. Academia is the way to go for now, so my next step will be a PhD. However, I'm quite the motor mouth when I want to be, and I love exchanging ideas with others. I find the best way to grow, is to help others grow.

I have dived into other interests of mine, including Public Speaking and Education improvement. In 2020 I founded my own organization: Gwel Education @gwel.academy, that provides services targeted towards improving one's education. I've been invited to speak at several functions about studying abroad, and other academic related topics. I've also been involved in organizing several youth conferences, and is definitely something I will continue to be doing.

How did studying Human Neuroscience at UTU help you reach your career goals?

I managed to learn practical skills needed in my field during my master's. I use these skills in my current position as a doctoral researcher. Turku is also a node part of Neurocenter Finland, and the networking events have helped me create connections with other Neuroscientists.

To whom would you recommend the MDP in Human Neuroscience?

The programme is suitable for anyone with an interest in human behaviour and diseases, focusing on the brain and nervous system as the source. The curriculum has general courses targeted to ensure all the students from  multidisciplinary backgrounds have the same basic knowledge. With more specialized courses to ensure students understand different neuroscience research methodologies, neural disease symptoms and treatment, and clinical tests.