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Information theoretic analysis tools for studying the cellular assembly of memory

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  • Full or part time
    Dr Simon Schultz
    Prof W Wisden
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

(4 year MRes + PhD studentship)

This project is one of 11 studentships on offer in the Imperial College EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Neurotechnology for Life and Health

Supervisors: Simon Schultz (Bioengineering), David Dupret (Brain Network Dynamics Unit, University of Oxford), William Wisden (Bioengineering)

How do memories form? This is one of the core problems of modern neuroscience. As well as underpinning much work in the basic neuroscience of brain and behaviour, understanding memory encoding is extremely important to our prospects for developing effective treatments of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s Disease, in which memory impairment is a major symptom.

This project brings together a multidisciplinary team to study how firing patterns in hippocampal cell assemblies are involved in the consolidation of memory throughout the brain. You will develop new quantitative algorithms, based on information theory, to measure the amount of information contained in hippocampal cell assemblies about memory conditions, and to break it down into contributions from specific spatiotemporal firing patterns such as SWRs. You will apply this methodology to both existing data collected in Oxford, and new experimental data collected in Oxford and London. Finally, you will use the results of this work to develop novel experimental technology for probing memory, including the application of closed loop optogenetics during behaviour or sleep to reactivate specific patterns of activity.

The CDT programme is not a standard PhD programme. Throughout the 4 years, there is considerable emphasis upon multidisciplinary and transferable skills, through centre activities beyond the individual research project. The programme cannot be taken without the first (MRes Neurotechnology) year, as it is an integral part of the overall programme.

Applicants should have (or expect to obtain) a first or upper second class degree (or non-UK equivalent). The project would suit a student with a strong theoretical background (for instance from physics, applied mathematics or electrical engineering), a deep interest in neuroscience, and a willingness to get involved in experimental neuroscience work. You should be looking for a challenging, multi-disciplinary PhD at the interface of neuroscience and engineering.

To apply online, visit

If you have questions or would like further information about the project, we encourage you to contact the supervisors directly before making your formal application.

Funding Notes

Studentships pay UK/EU tuition fees, stipend and a generous consumables and travel fund for the duration of the programme (one year of MRes and 3 years of PhD).

Places are open to UK and EU applicants only.

How good is research at Imperial College London in General Engineering?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 33.50

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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