Hi, I am Greta. Thank you for visiting my page. I am a research assistant in the Biomechatronics Laboratory at MIT. Starting September 2020, I will be joining the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT as a graduate student. Prior to MIT, I completed a BSc and MSc degree in Molecular Biomedicine at KU/DTU (neuroscience/computer science focus), where I worked on real-time decoding of visual attention at the Department of Applied Mathematics and Computer Science at DTU advised by Professor Lars Kai Hansen.
I work in the intersection of neuroscience, machine learning and cognitive science. I am really passionate about semantic decoding, temporal processing dynamics in the brain and figuring out things that puzzle me. I also like photography, high altitudes, mornings, writing toolboxes, and magic realism books.
Research Projects, 2012-current
In reverse chronological order. To be updated soon.
Closed-loop neurofeedback training of attention with real-time EEG
Master's thesis conducted at the Section for Cognitive Systems (advisor: Professor Lars Kai Hansen and Professor Troels Wesenberg Kjaer), Department of Applied Mathematics and Computer Science, Technical University of Denmark (DTU).
Developed a Python-based framework for closed-loop, real-time neurofeedback in EEG. The toolbox contains integration of ultra-precise EEG data sampling with stimuli presentation, subject-specific artifact rejection, cognitive state classification and continuous feedback.
Implemented a robust real-time classification algorithm for data processing in temporal bins using machine learning techniques.
Investigated the effect of neurofeedback to modulate top-down attentional states during an attention training task.
Visualized where discriminative information of decoded attentional states resides in the EEG signature using sensitivity mapping. The aim was to shed light on the temporal dynamics of subjective attentional states.
First-authored paper: Tuckute, G., Hansen, S.T., Kjaer, Troels W., Hansen, L. K. (2019): A framework for closed-loop neurofeedback for real-time EEG decoding, bioRxiv 834713; doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/834713. [Under review, NeuroImage]
Poster presented at FENS Brain Conference Dynamics of the brain: Temporal aspects of computation in Rungsted, Denmark, 9-12 June 2019: Tuckute, G., Hansen, S.T., Kjaer, T.W., Hansen, L.K.: Can we control attention with closed-loop EEG neurofeedback?
Poster can be found here.
Multiple projects within neural computations underlying language processing
Work conducted as a full-time research assistant in Ev Fedorenko's Language Lab, McGovern Institute for Brain Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in June 2018 - September 2018 (and ongoing):
Performed processing and first level analyses of fMRI data using Freesurfer, MATLAB, Linux shell scripting and high-performance computing. Wrote custom MATLAB scripts for second level analyses. Acquired fMRI data.
Investigated whether anatomical brain properties respect functional network boundaries by analyzing cortical thickness values and gray matter intensities across two separate brain networks: the fronto-temporal language system and the fronto-parietal multiple demand (MD) system.
Performed seed-based functional connectivity analysis on resting-state fMRI data for implementation of a convolutional neural network (CNN) for predicting functional language and MD network regions based on anatomical alignment and task-free data.
Examined mechanisms of how high-level language functions are established by intra-hemispheric connections between the temporal and frontal cortices (lesion case study).
Wrote a Python toolbox for natural language processing, including part-of-speech tagging, lemmatization, lexical feature mapping and sentence-level representations. The aim was to generate lexical and semantic word embedding spaces.
Exploited Representational Similarity Analysis (RSA) to investigate how activation patterns in language and MD functional regions of interest can be explained by lexical, syntactic and semantic features.
Poster presented at Society for the Neurobiology of Language (SNL) conference in Helsinki, Finland, 20-22 August 2019: Tuckute, G., Hansen, Mineroff, Z., Blank, I., Kean, H., Fedorenko, E: Temporal language areas appear necessary to wire up frontal cortex for language.
Poster can be found here.
First-authored paper in prep: Tuckute, G., Mineroff, Z., Blank, I., Kean, H., Fedorenko, E. (2020): Intra-Hemispheric Temporal-Frontal Connections Appear Necessary to Wire Up Left Frontal Cortex for Language, Cortex.
Work conducted at the Section for Cognitive Systems (advisor: Professor Lars Kai Hansen), at the Department of Applied Mathematics and Computer Science, Technical University of Denmark (DTU), November 2017 - December 2018.
Designed an experiment for EEG-based semantic decoding of naturalistic, visual stimuli and acquired EEG data from healthy subjects in non-laboratory settings.
Processed EEG signals and applied various feature engineering approaches for model optimization: wavelet decomposition, temporal binning, power signals.
Implemented data dimensionality reduction methods: t-distributed stochastic neighbor embedding (t-SNE), principal component analysis (PCA) and multidimensional scaling (MDS).
Created decoding classification models in EEG: Support Vector Machines (SVM), dense neural networks (NN), convolutional neural networks (CNN) in a leave-one-subject-out approach.
Extracted representational image feature vectors from experimental stimuli using an Inception-V3 net and created regression models to map high-dimensional EEG feature vectors to image feature vectors (ridge regression and dense NNs).
Performed Representational Similarity Analysis (RSA) of EEG across subjects and evaluated inter-subject correlation using bootstrapping and permutation testing.
Proposed a method for computing and evaluating sensitivity maps for EEG-based SVM classificiation models with Radial Basis Function (RBF) kernels, and implemented an NPAIRS cross-validation framework for estimation of effect size uncertainty.
First-authored paper: Tuckute, G., Hansen, S. T., Pedersen, N., Steenstrup, D., Hansen, L. K. (2019): Single Trial Decoding of Scalp EEG Under Natural Conditions, Computational Intelligence and Neuroscience, vol. 2019, Article ID 9210785, https://doi.org/10.1155/2019/9210785.
Implications of hormone dynamics and serotonin signaling in postpartum depression
Work conducted at the Neurobiology Research Unit (advisors: Professor Vibe G. Frokjaer, Dr. Agnete Overgaard), Copenhagen University Hospital, September 2017 - April 2018.
Was responsible for running a randomized rat study (Sprague-Dawley) to investigate the efficacy and adverse reaction period of serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) in nulliparous rats.
Managed daily rat handling, drug injections, vaginal smears and blood sampling (tail vein puncture).
Performed and quantified behavioral testing to investigate anhedonia, anxiety and depressive-like behavior in the Open Field Test, Forced Swimming Test and Sucrose Preference Test.
Investigated changes in Corticosterone (CORT) levels before and after stress-inducing behavioral tests using radioactive immuno-assays.
Performed rat brain dissections and post-mortem internal organ inspection.
First-authored paper: Tuckute, G., Overgaard, A., Frokjaer, V. G. (2019): Chronic Paroxetine Blunts Stress Response and Normalizes Adverse Behavioral Effects Seen Acutely in Nulliparous Rats, bioRxiv 687509; doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/687509.
Characterization of primary cilia in human embryonic hearts
Work conducted as part of my Molecular Biomedicine bachelor’s thesis in The Cilia Group (advisor: Professor Soeren T. Christensen),
Department of Biology, University of Copenhagen and Laboratory of Reproductive Biology (advisor: Professor Claus Yding),
Copenhagen University Hospital in January 2017 - June 2017 (additional data collection and manuscript preparation through spring 2018):
Thawed human embryonic, vitrified biological samples by the Open Pulled Straw Method.
Was responsible of cell culturing (human embryonic cells) including cell splitting, bright-field microscopy examination and isolation of contracting cell clusters.
Performed RNA purification and RT-qPCR to study the change in protein expression of neuronal, cytoskeletal and early cardiac genes in contracting and non-contracting cell clusters.
Performed tissue preparation and histology: Alginate-agar tissue embedding, histochemistry and tissue sectioning.
Conducted immunohistochemical DAB-peroxidase staining of cardiac proteins to investigate cellular organization in different anatomical sites in the developing human heart.
Evaluated primary antibody immunoreactivity, antigen-retrieval procedures and signal transduction protein components (primarily TGF-b/BMP and Wnt signaling pathways) underlying cardiac development and congenital heart disease.
Investigated the role of primary cilia using immunofluorescence in embryonic cardiomyocyte cells using ciliary shaft/base and centrosome primary antibodies.
Co-authored paper: Grubb, S. G., Vestergaard, M. L., Koefoed, K., Mamsen, L. S., Lauridsen, K. G., Tuckute, G., Andersen, A. S., Christensen, S. T., Moellgaard, K., Calloe, K., Andersen, C. Y. (2019): Comparison of Cultured Human Cardiomyocyte Clusters Obtained from Embryos/Fetuses or Derived from Human Embryonic Stem Cells, Stem Cells and Development , http://doi.org/10.1089/scd.2018.0231.
Interaction between SNAP-25 and synaptotagmin-1 in neuronal vesicle exocytosis
Work conducted Neuronal Signaling Lab (advisor: Professor Jakob B. Sorensen), Department of Neuroscience, University of Copenhagen, April 2016 - June 2016:
Cloned mouse Synaptotagmin-1 cDNA into plasmids for incorporation of point mutations for investigation of he role of the SNARE protein SNAP-25 as a regulator of presynaptic vesicle exocytosis.
Live microscopy imaging of neurons with fluorescent GFP constructs to follow protein trafficking.
The role of PSD-95 in regulating synaptic plasticity by AMPA receptor insertion in the presynaptic membrane
Work conducted as an undergraduate researcher in the Kennedy Lab (advisors: Professor Mary B. Kennedy, Dr. Tara Mastro), Division of Biology and Biological Engineering, California Institute of Technology (CALTECH), September 2016 - December 2016.
Analyzed post-synaptic density proteins PSD-95 (focusing on PDZ domains), LRRTMs, TARPs, NLG-2 from brain homogenates by Western Blotting and quantified protein ratios to unravel intrinsic mechanisms of long-term potentiation/synaptic plasticity.
Prepared mice brain tissue homogenates from knock-out and wildtype mice.
Bose-Einstein condensates & Quantum optics
Work conducted in late high school and for two research competitions (advisors: Professor Klaus Moelmer, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Aarhus University and Dr. Jacob Broe, Aalborg Cathedral School):
“The Junior Researcher's Project” by University of Copenhagen (finalist, December 2012).
“Young Researchers” competition by Danish Science Factory (finalist, April 2013).
One project primarily on quantum tunneling, Bose-Einstein condensates from Rubidium atoms and probability distributions of the nonrelativistic Schrödinger equation. Second project on quantum optics and sequential storage and readout of laser light in a diamond for quantum relays.
My work can be found here and here.
Research Assistant/Programmer: Employment as a student programmer/research assistant,
part of the Biophysically adjusted State-informed Cortex stimulation (BaSiCs) project from October 2018 to June 2019. Section for Cognitive System, Technical University of Denmark.
Teaching Assistant, Introduction to Intelligent Systems and Advanced Machine Learning: Provided advising for projects within intelligent systems and advanced machine learning at the Department of Applied Mathematics and Computer Science, Technical University of Denmark, winter and spring 2019.
Teaching Assistant, Chemistry: Provided instruction for about 20 students in organic and physical chemistry, Department of Chemistry, University of Copenhagen, fall 2015.
Board member, Synapse - Life Science Connect: Active member of the student-driven organization, Synapse, linking the gap between academia and industry in life science. Was responsible of funding, project management, event planning,
setting strategic priorities, implementation of ideas (e.g. a week-long seminar in Cambridge and London, UK). 2015 - 2016.
Own company (GretaTu.com): Started my own photography company at the age of fourteen, working with customers in Denmark and abroad. The greatest achievement of my photography career was to arrange an exhibition sponsored by Canon in Japan in 2015 featuring my mountain photography to raise awareness for the victims of the earthquake devastating the entire Himalaya region in spring 2015. Exhibition poster here.
Languages and courses
Introduction to Machine Learning and Data Mining
Laboratory Animal Science EU Function A/B/D
MRI safety training
Computational Cognitive Science
Quantitative Methods and Computational Models in Neuroscience
WebPPL (probabilistic programming)
Matrix Methods for Signal Processing and Deep Learning
Bioinformatics of High Throughput Analyses
This is me looking very happy after receiving a 3D print of my left hemisphere, courtesy of amazing people from EvLab.
Matt Siegelman and I wrote a toolbox for inserting text into the gyri of a brain using a pretrained VGG-19 deepnet.
My name is hidden in there somewhere.
I completed my bachelor of science degree (Molecular Biomedicine) at the University of Copenhagen (with a semester at the California Institute of Technology) in 2017. I completed my master of science degree (Molecular Biomedicine with neuroscience/computer science focus) at the University of Copenhagen/Technical University of Denmark with coursework/research at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Hokkaido University. I am currently a graduate student within Biomechatronics at the MIT Media Laboratory.
I am originally Lithuanian, raised in Denmark, and have lived in the US (Cambridge, MA and Pasadena, CA) and Canada (Hamilton, Ontario).
I have traveled 36 countries (so far).
When I don't do neuroscience, I love:
Mountaineering: I summited Mt. Kilimanjaro at the age of 16 and since then I have done peaks in the Himalayas, the Andes mountains, the Alps and Japan.
Tennis: Played on a national level in Denmark during my teenage years, but unfortunately less during my last couple of years. Always up for a match though! Warning: My backhand is pretty decent.