Brain rhythms that serve as the ‘binder’ for memory and concept formation


   Faculty of Health and Life Science

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  Dr Emmanuel Biau, Dr Yukiko Kikuchi, Prof Christopher Petkov, Dr S Wuerger  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Memories are like the internal movies of our lives, allowing us to replay past events or to imagine the future. Unlike movies however, scientists do not yet understand how the brain merges information from the senses to form new memories, nor how it could be stimulated to improve or disrupt memories. Moreover, there exist brain rhythms that help the memory system, and stimulating the brain in these rhythms could have a powerful impact on multisensory perception and memory.

A motivated student will have the opportunity to work with a synergistic partnership between the Universities of Liverpool and Newcastle. The group in Liverpool established expertise in perception, memory and human brain activity recording, while the group in Newcastle is world-leading in primate neuroscience of direct relevance for human research. The studentship work will consist in designing an audio-visual memory task based on recent results from both labs, and applicable with humans and nonhuman primates. In Liverpool, the student will test human participants to link memory performance with brain activity. The work in Newcastle will involve primates working on an adaptation of the memory task, while an innovative approach modulating the brain activity with transcranial ultrasound stimulation (TUS) will be applied to establish the role of the brain rhythms in the formation of new concept memories.

The PhD programme will advance understanding in two species for translating neuroscientific information to humans, and potentially lead to better target brain rhythms with neurostimulation to improve impaired memory. This training will allow the student to acquire unique non-invasive and in vivo skills with respectively humans and nonhuman primates, which have been identified as areas of need by UK funders including the BBSRC. The student will have the opportunity to sculpt their ideal PhD work around this fascinating topic, and will be supported with ultrasound stimulation by our company partner (BrainBox Ltd). Additionally, a prominent collaborator in human memory and brain rhythms will provide support with the human work by taking part in regular online meetings.

HOW TO APPLY

Applications should be made by emailing [Email Address Removed] with:

·        a CV (including contact details of at least two academic (or other relevant) referees);

·        a covering letter – clearly stating your first choice project, and optionally 2nd ranked project, as well as including whatever additional information you feel is pertinent to your application; you may wish to indicate, for example, why you are particularly interested in the selected project(s) and at the selected University;

·        copies of your relevant undergraduate degree transcripts and certificates;

·        a copy of your IELTS or TOEFL English language certificate (where required);

·        a copy of your passport (photo page).

A GUIDE TO THE FORMAT REQUIRED FOR THE APPLICATION DOCUMENTS IS AVAILABLE AT https://www.nld-dtp.org.uk/how-apply. Applications not meeting these criteria may be rejected.

In addition to the above items, please email a completed copy of the Additional Details Form (as a Word document) to [Email Address Removed]. A blank copy of this form can be found at: https://www.nld-dtp.org.uk/how-apply.

Informal enquiries may be made to [Email Address Removed]

The deadline for all applications is 12noon on Monday 9th January 2023. 


Biological Sciences (4) Psychology (31)

Funding Notes

CASE studentships are funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) for 4 years. Funding will cover tuition fees at the UK rate only, a Research Training and Support Grant (RTSG) and stipend. We aim to support the most outstanding applicants from outside the UK and are able to offer a limited number of bursaries that will enable full studentships to be awarded to international applicants. These full studentships will only be awarded to exceptional quality candidates, due to the competitive nature of this scheme.

References

Left motor δ oscillations reflect asynchrony detection in multisensory speech perception. (2022). Journal of Neuroscience, 42(11), 2313-2326
Auditory detection is modulated by theta phase of silent lip movements. (2021). Current Research in Neurobiology, 2, 100014
Sequence learning comparably modulates neuronal nested oscillations in human and monkey auditory cortex. (2017). PLoS Biology, e2000219
Primate auditory prototype in the evolution of the arcuate fasciculus. (2020). Nature Neuroscience, 23, 611–614
The time course of auditory–visual processing of speech and body actions: Evidence for the simultaneous activation of an extended neural network for semantic processing. (2013). Neuropsychologia, 51(9), 1716-1725

Where will I study?

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