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Computer models to predict brain stimulation response in epilepsy (Computational Neurology)

   School of Computing

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  Dr Peter Taylor, Dr Mark Baker  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Epilepsy can be a devastating disorder in which recurrent seizures can involve loss of consciousness and convulsions. For around a third of patients their seizures are not well controlled by medication treatment.

As an alternative treatment, neural stimulation is widely used in epilepsy and has been shown to be remarkably effective for some patients. However, despite the widespread use of stimulation techniques, several open questions remain. In this PhD we will explore some of these questions such as:

  • For a given stimulation protocol and patient brain scan, can we predict if the stimulation will be effective in controlling seizures?
  • What is the best protocol for neural stimulation? i.e. when is the best time to stimulate, and by how much?
  • Why is it that some patients respond, whilst others do not?

The student will have the opportunity to explore these research questions using cutting edge computational methods applied to real-world patient data.


The student will work in the CNNP Lab ( - a highly interdisciplinary environment with computer scientists, neurobiologists, mathematicians, and clinicians. The lab is well funded with recent epilepsy funding of >£2.5m, and 10-15 current lab members working at the interface of computer science and neurology in a supportive, collaborative manner. The lab is based in the School of Computing at the Newcastle Helix site in Newcastle City Centre (, with state-of-the-art facilities.


You will have excellent programming skills in a language such as Python, Matlab, or R, and a good knowledge of data analysis & statistics (e.g. PCA, effect size estimation, significance testing). Knowledge of any of the following are desirable: biomedical image processing (EEG, MRI), feature selection & machine learning techniques, dynamical systems theory.

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 and 3rd ranked projects, 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);
  • copies of your relevant undergraduate degree transcripts and certificates;
  • a copy of your passport (photo page).

A GUIDE TO THE FORMAT REQUIRED FOR THE APPLICATION DOCUMENTS IS AVAILABLE AT . Applications not meeting these criteria may be rejected.

In addition to the above items, please email a completed copy of the Application Form (as a Word document) to [Email Address Removed] A blank copy of this form can be found at:

Informal enquiries may be made to [Email Address Removed]. The closing date for applications is 31st March 2022 at 5.00pm (UK time).

Funding Notes

PhD studentships are funded by Epilepsy Research UK (ERUK) for 3 years. Funding will cover tuition fees at the UK rate only, a Research Training and Support Grant and stipend (£15,609, 2021/22 rate). Applications are welcomed from students in all countries, although students from outside the UK will be required to pay full international fees. International students may be eligible for financial support to cover some or all of these fees.
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