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Neurocareers: Doing The Impossible!

Mar 31, 2024

What does it take to successfully navigate a career in the ever-evolving landscape of neurotechnologies? What is adaptive deep brain stimulation (DBS), and how is it transforming the lives of those with movement disorders? Today, on "Neurocareers: Doing the Impossible!" we dive into these questions with Dr. Stephanie Cernera, DBS research and development specialist, particularly for Parkinson's disease.

Dr. Cernera, with her rich background in Biomedical Engineering from Purdue University and a PhD from the University of Florida, has been at the forefront of pioneering DBS strategies. Her groundbreaking work on closed-loop DBS, utilizing wearable sensors for essential tremor patients, has set new standards in the field. Currently, at the prestigious Starr Lab at UCSF, she develops adaptive DBS protocols that leverage local field potentials for more tailored and responsive treatments for Parkinson’s disease and dystonia sufferers. Moreover, Stephanie is making a bold career shift by joining Syhchron - a leader in the neurotech industry.

In this episode, Dr. Cernera shares her personal career journey through the realm of neurotech. She offers valuable insights on navigating graduate school and postdoctoral applications and discusses the courage it takes to transition from academia to industry. Her story is not just one of scientific innovation but also of personal resilience and the drive to make a significant impact.

Dr. Cernera emphasizes the critical importance of teamwork and effective collaboration in today's research environment. As projects expand in complexity, particularly with the vast amounts of data being collected and the intricate questions needing answers, the ability to work harmoniously within a team becomes indispensable. She points out that a well-coordinated team can offer invaluable feedback on data analyses and methodologies, playing a pivotal role in ensuring the success of developed approaches. Dr. Cernera's insights underline the significance of fostering strong team dynamics and the impact of collaborative effort on achieving breakthrough outcomes in neurotech research.

Join us as Dr. Cernera delves into her own neurocareer journey from academic DBS research to her pivotal role at Synchron and shares her expert advice for those looking to forge their own paths in this dynamic field. This episode is a must-listen for anyone intrigued by the nexus of technology, healthcare, and neurotech research, promising to inspire and guide future leaders in neurotech.

Tune in to uncover the narrative of a neurocareer that has crossed fields, from the academic study of DBS to the cutting-edge industry work at Synchron, with Dr. Stephanie Cernera.

About the Podcast Guest:

Stephanie is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at Starr Lab, Department of Neurological Surgery, University of California, San Francisco and she is currently transitioning to her new role in the neurotech industry at Synchron.

All the adaptive work Stephanie has been doing in Dr. Starr's lab has been a massive team effort, and there are two co-first authors on the paper besides Dr. Stephanie Cernera. These are Dr. Carina Oehrn and Dr. Lauren Hammer. The preprint of the paper is available here:

Stephanie encourages anyone to reach out if they have career questions or research questions - she'd be happy to chat! If you are interested in connecting on LinkedIn - Stephanie's profile is

Stephanie's e-mail is 

Recommended resources from Stephanie:
Python on Coursera:
Amazon books:
Dr. Cernera also provided several documents that can be helpful for your graduate school and postdoctoral studies applications. The links to these documents will be provided here later.

About the Podcast Host:

The Neurocareers podcast is brought to you by The Institute of Neuroapproaches ( and its founder, Milena Korostenskaja, Ph.D. (Dr. K), a neuroscience educator, research consultant, and career coach for people in neuroscience and neurotechnologies. As a professional coach with a background in the field, Dr. K understands the unique challenges and opportunities job applicants face in this field and can provide personalized coaching and support to help you succeed.

Here's what you'll get with one-on-one coaching sessions from Dr. K:

  • Identification and pursuit of career goals
  • Guidance on job search strategies, resume and cover letter development, and interview preparation
  • Access to a network of professionals in the field of neuroscience and neurotechnologies
  • Ongoing support and guidance to help you stay on track and achieve your goals

You can always schedule a free neurocareer consultation/coaching session with Dr. K at

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