A fundamental question in sensory neuroscience is what information sensory neurons convey during natural behaviour (‘sensory coding’). Neuroscience textbooks describe in detail how the cortex is parcelled up into ‘sensory’ and ‘motor’ regions. However, new studies have challenged this dogma by showing that the activity of neurons in areas of the cerebral cortex classically considered to be purely sensory actually depend on an animal’s motor state (eg running speed or whisker movement). The full extent and significance of these findings remains, however, unclear.
The aim of this project is to use exciting new methods (large-scale electrophysiological recording, behaviour imaging, machine learning) to investigate this general issue. Specifically, we will test between competing hypotheses for how motor state influences the activity of neurons in sensory cortex. This will be done by recording the activity of neurons in the somatosensory cortex using state-of-the-art Neuropixels probes.
This project will suit motivated students with a passion for interdisciplinary neuroscience, involving both experimental and computational methods. Students might come either a biology/neuroscience background or from a physical sciences background.
Candidates are expected to hold (or be about to obtain) a minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent) in a related area/subject. Candidates with previous laboratory experience are particularly encouraged to apply.
How To Apply
For information on how to apply for this project, please visit the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health Doctoral Academy website (https://www.bmh.manchester.ac.uk/study/research/apply/). Informal enquiries may be made directly to the primary supervisor. On the online application form select the appropriate subject title.
For international students, we also offer a unique 4 year PhD programme that gives you the opportunity to undertake an accredited Teaching Certificate whilst carrying out an independent research project across a range of biological, medical and health sciences.
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
Equality, diversity and inclusion is fundamental to the success of The University of Manchester, and is at the heart of all of our activities. The full Equality, diversity and inclusion statement can be found on the website https://www.bmh.manchester.ac.uk/study/research/apply/equality-diversity-inclusion/”