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Artificial Intelligence to Design Synthetic Cells for Neurological Treatment

   Research Support Unit

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  Dr D Kilbane, Prof J Prehn  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Post summary

Applications are invited for a PhD position funded by the Walton Institute, Waterford Institute of Technology EU-FET Open Project PRIME. The candidate is expected to be highly self-motivated, and willing to work in future emerging topics in Artificial Intelligence and Bioinformatics.

Position: Artificial Intelligence to Design Synthetic Cells for Neurological Treatment

Description: Neurological diseases account for one of the most complex medical challenges of this century, and one that continues to remain a challenge for humanity is epilepsy. Over 50 million people globally, and 6 million in Europe suffer from epilepsy, out of which 400,000 people are in Ireland. Epilepsy affects the normal functions of the brain, and usually results from an uncontrolled over-firing process of the neurons within the brain. We will use artificial intelligence to design synthetic cells for neurological treatment. The objective is to develop a simulation platform that can be used to design synthetic cells linked to treating epilepsy. The key aims include construction of a simulation platform and its validation through experimental data as well as data from open repositories to determine the accuracy of the simulation model. This PhD student will increase understanding of biological processes using machine learning and deep learning approaches to next generation sequencing omics data. This PhD research will use tools and knowledge from artificial intelligence and bioinformatics, coupled with results from molecular communication and electronic circuit theory to develop a simulation platform that can design synthetic cells for treating epilepsy.

Standard duties and responsibilities of the scholarship

• Contribute to a cutting-edge FET Open research project PRIME.

• Collaborate with partners in the PRIME project.

• Publish in leading journals and present at top national and international conferences.

• Complete specialist training as advised by supervisors.

• Develop transferrable and generic skills.

• Join a diverse community of young researchers and participate in WIT’s HRS4R training activities.

Person specification



• First- or second-class honours degree in computer science, engineering, mathematics or related relevant discipline, specializing in artificial intelligence.


• MSc degree or equivalent postgraduate qualification in computer science, engineering, mathematics or related relevant discipline, specializing in artificial intelligence.

Knowledge & Experience


• Strong mathematical modelling skills, machine learning and artificial intelligence.

• Strong programming skills in python, MATLAB or other tools for modelling.

• Highly analytical.


• Interest in bioinformatics, biological and molecular processes.

• Experience in mathematical modelling and analysis of systems.

• Expertise in machine learning and/or artificial intelligence.

Skills & Competencies


• Applicants whose first language is not English must submit evidence of competency in English, please see WIT’s English Language Requirements for details.

• Highly motivated, demonstrate initiative and ability to work within multi-disciplinary project team to achieve results.

• Strong interpersonal and communication skills.

• Good academic record of excellence and writing skills.


• Prior experience working with/in industry, scientific paper and report writing.

• Paper publications in notable venues such as IEEE/ACM journals and conferences.

• Research experience at master’s degree level in artificial intelligence.

Funding Notes

Research Group: Walton Institute
Department / School: Department of Computing and Mathematics
Duration: 48 months PhD
Status: Full-time
Funding information: Walton Institute Funded
Value of the scholarship per annum.: Stipend: €18,500 Fees: €4,500 Research costs: €2,000
Teaching requirement: N/A
Closing date and time: Advertisement Period 15/10/2021- 08/11/2021 This Competition will close on at 4pm Irish time on the 8th of November 2021.
Interview date: TBC –
Commencement date: December 2021 / January 2022


Further information
For any informal queries, please contact Deirdre Kilbane, by email on
For queries relating to the application and admission process please contact the Postgraduate Admissions Office via email or telephone +353 (0)51 302883.
Application procedure
Download the Research Postgraduate Application Form and return completed applications to, quoting WD_2021_03_SPONS in the email subject line. Please note that paper submissions will not be accepted.
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