Elena Beanato wins the 2023 BMI thesis prize

Elena Beanato. Credit: EPFL

Elena Beanato. Credit: EPFL

The EPFL Brain Mind Insftitute at the EPFL School of Life Sciences has awarded the 2023 best thesis prize to Dr Elena Beanato. 

Every year since 2011, the Brain Mind Institute at EPFL awards a prize for the best PhD thesis. The selection is made by the committee of the EPFL PhD program in Neuroscience (EDNE), and takes into account the appraisals and evaluations from the experts of the PhD theses committees, based on the scientific work of the PhD graduates.

This year, the BMI Best Thesis Prize has been awarded to Dr Elena Beanato, who carried out her doctoral work under the supervision of Professor Friedhelm Hummel. Her thesis is titled “Noninvasive deep brain stimulation to modulate human behavior by means of transcranial temporal interference electrical stimulation” and she presented it on January 17, 2024.

Beanato presenting her thesis to the BMI. Credit: EPFL
Beanato presenting her thesis to the BMI. Credit: EPFL.

Professor Johannes Gräff, current director of EDNE, praises her work as follows: “Ms Beanato presented an extremely high-quality thesis. It is immaculately written and boasts with high quality figures. But most importantly, her thesis contains a number of highly novel studies, which were all high-risk high-gain. The fact that she managed to complete such a big volume of high quality work speaks to her dedication and potential as a leader in the field.”

To which Professor Hummel adds: “This body of work is entirely cross-disciplinary. Elena brought together neuroscience, neuroengineering, computational science and neurorehabilitation to answer central questions about the functioning of the human brain. One of her studies showed that non-invasive modulation of the deep structures in the healthy human brain is actually technically possible, namely by combining temporal interference stimulation and functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging. This represents a huge advance both for neuroscientific research, as well as for potential rehabilitation interventions."

Professor Johannes Gräff, Dr Elena Beanato, and Professor Friedhelm Huimmel. Credit: EPFL
Professor Johannes Gräff, Dr Elena Beanato, and Professor Friedhelm Hummel. Credit: EPFL.

Part of Dr Beanato’s work has been recently published in Nature Neuroscience(read EPFL's press release here).