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Peripheral Olfactory Coding: Information Processing outside the Brain

School of Life Sciences

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Prof T Nowotny Applications accepted all year round

About the Project

PhD position available for the project “Peripheral Olfactory Coding: Information Processing outside the Brain” funded by the Leverhulme Trust. This project will investigate early olfactory coding in the model system of the fruit fly Drosophila. Our aim is to test the hypothesis that one key element underlying odour object recognition are non-synaptic interactions between receptor neurons, i.e. information pre-processing outside the brain. Successful candidates will work in one of two areas, depending on interest: Single sensillum recordings (SSRs) on olfactory receptors or behavioural experiments in a wind tunnel. They will be involved in the entire work from experimental design, practical experimentation, selection and execution of data analysis and, depending on interest, computational interpretation in models. You will work closely with Dr Mario Pannunzi, Prof Thomas Nowotny and Prof George Kemenes on this project.

Work environment
You will join the exciting interdisciplinary environment of Sussex Neuroscience ( and the Centre for Computational Neuroscience and Robotics (, within which you will work in the groups of Profs Nowotny ( and Kemenes ( Colleagues in the groups work on diverse topics ranging from learning and memory in lymnaea stagnalis (pond snail) to the “Brains on Board project” (, seeking to emulate bee brains as robotic controllers for navigation. The University of Sussex provides an extremely rich research environment and training opportunities for doctoral researchers. The University is situated in Downs National Park at the edge of the vibrant coastal city of Brighton, known for its cultural richness, tolerance and diversity. The city offers a multitude of cultural activities, a colourful nightlife and is only an hour on the train away from the metropole of London.

How to apply:
Please submit a formal application using our online application system at, including a CV, degree transcripts and certificates, statement of interest and names of two academic referees. On the application system use Programme of Study – PhD Neuroscience

For enquiries about the project contact Dr. Mario Pannunzi, project co-supervisor, [Email Address Removed] or Prof. Thomas Nowotny, project supervisor, [Email Address Removed]

Funding Notes

UK/EU fees and a living allowance in line with UK Research Council rates, currently £15,009 in 2019-20 and rising in line with inflation for 3.5 years.

Candidates should have an MSc or equivalent in natural sciences, ideally in the area of Neuroscience, Physics, Chemistry or Biology. In addition, strong analytical skills and fluency in English are essential for this project. Interest and skills to work in a multi-disciplinary and extensively networked project are important.

Interview on a rolling basis until filled.

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