Univ Dates: 2008-2013

Degree: MSc and DPhil Neuroscience

Degree Level: Postgraduate

Occupation: Visiting Researcher, Department of Pharmacology, University of Oxford

Biography: Dr Andrei-Sorin Ilie joined Univ in 2008 after being awarded a Wellcome Trust scholarship for a four-year DPhil programme in Neuroscience. He then continued at Univ as Junior Research Fellow in Medical Sciences and as a researcher in the Department of Pharmacology. He received one of five IBRO Alumni Awards for the Best Poster at the 9th IBRO World Congress in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2015. Dr Ilie’s research interests include understanding the regulation and operation of the brain’s inhibitory circuits. He uses a combination of electrophysiology and molecular/genetic tools to understand how brain inhibitory circuits are affected in neurological disorders such as epilepsy. In 2011-2012 he was Vice President of the Oxford University Cortext Club, and President of the Club in 2012-13.

Prior to coming to Univ, he studied at the University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Romania. In 2006 he received the Youngest Romanian Researcher Award from the Ministry of Education and Research, and in 2010 he received the Romanian Student of the Year Award from the League of Romanian Students Abroad. Dr Ilie is currently returning to medical practice in the UK, with the long term goal of combining research activity with clinical work.


What were your thoughts on Oxford before you came up to Univ?

To be honest I thought it was quite a pretentious place, but the moment I actually set foot in Oxford my preconceptions changed – everyone was very friendly and welcoming. Starting at Univ was like another shifting paradigm because everyone was, again, so friendly. It was such a welcoming community – it was like a family away from home. You meet many new people from different backgrounds from all over the world and you get to make amazing new friends.


Who inspired you at Univ?

Many people have had a positive influence on my development as a person – in particular some very good friends who were studying Law, something quite different for me, but some of them became my best friends and we are still in contact and see each other regularly. I think all that has a big implication for who you become. You come here from your own background and with your own ideas, but then you mix in with people from all over the world and you get an education outside of the university just by being around these very diverse people.


Do you have a favourite memory?

I particularly enjoyed the social life, great parties organised by College on Friday nights, a drink, some music – that’s where I met many people who became my best friends.


How does it feel to be part of this project?

I was very happy of course, but it’s also a little scary knowing there are high expectations and being within such a prestigious programme; knowing your story will be used to encourage others to join Univ and to achieve their own goals.


Any advice for those thinking of coming to Univ?

Univ is an amazing place and they should definitely go for it – you should not be scared of Oxford and you should believe in yourself and follow your dreams. Just go for it.