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PhD Studentship – Modelling cortico-subcortical oscillatory connectivity

  • Full or part time
    Dr V Litvak
  • Application Deadline
    Thursday, April 30, 2020
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Applications are invited for a 3-year funded PhD studentship in the Wellcome Centre for Human Neuroimaging (https://www.fil.ion.ucl.ac.uk/) under the supervision of Dr. Vladimir Litvak and Dr. Simon Farmer and in collaboration with the Computational Neuroscience Group (CNS, https://www.upf.edu/web/cns), led by Prof. Gustavo Deco, at the Center for Brain and Cognition (https://www.upf.edu/web/cbc), Pompeu Fabra University (Barcelona, Spain). The position is part of the EU-funded Innovative Training Network euSNN (“European School of Network Neuroscience”) and available, with full-time employment, for a duration of 3 years with immediate start.

The euSNN Innovative Training Network integrates 16 leading European groups in network neuroscience and 7 companies to train students who want to pursue a successful career in the field of network neuroscience. The euSNN training programme offers a unique combination of experimental, analysis and modelling approaches. Exploiting intense collaborations between experimental, theoretical and clinical groups, euSNN links basic research on large-scale brain dynamics with new pathophysiological approaches and clinical applications. The euSNN network is coordinated by Prof. Dr. Andreas K. Engel. Further information on the euSNN network can be found at http://eusnn.eu.

Project details

Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) is an effective treatment method for a range of neurological and psychiatric conditions. It involves placing electrodes deep in a patient’s brain, usually in precisely targeted subcortical nuclei. DBS surgery affords a unique opportunity to study the neural activity of these nuclei via recording of local electrical signals known as local field potentials (LFP). Our group pioneered simultaneous recording of subcortical LFP with non-invasive whole brain imaging using magnetoencephalography (MEG). This makes it possible to map out cortico-subcortical oscillatory coherent networks which have characteristic frequencies and cortical topographies for each subcortical target. Over the years we collected data from several different subcortical nuclei and characterised their oscillatory networks. The aim of the proposed project is to establish a modelling framework which could accommodate these findings and make quantitative predictions for future experiments. This will require extending existing models of cortical dynamics and integrating information from additional imaging modalities such as functional MRI and Diffusion Tensor Modelling (DTI).

The euSNN training network offers exciting and unique opportunities for the student to pursue this project including interactions with top experts in neuroimaging brain modelling and exposure to several different modelling frameworks and approaches that the student will have to master and integrate to achieve the project’s goals. There might also be opportunities towards the end of the project to test some of the predictions experimentally. In addition, the student will have a chance to work on secondments with commercial companies on topics relevant to the project.

Entry requirements

Applicants should have an Honours Degree (minimum 2:1) in a quantitative discipline: Physics/ Mathematics/Engineering/Computer science, strong mathematical background and interest in neuroscience. Knowledge of scientific programming languages, particularly Matlab, background in modelling complex physical systems and a relevant Masters qualification is desirable. Applicants should be willing to travel to attend the network activities and spend prolonged periods of time (up to a few months at a time and at least 8 months in total) doing secondments outside the UK. Applicants must not have been residing in the UK for more than 12 months prior to the start of the appointment.

Deadline 30th April 2020. Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed in May.

How to apply

Applicants should submit 1) a CV, 2) a 1-page statement detailing why you want to do the PhD, motivation, interest and suitability for the project, 3) a copy of your strongest single piece of academic work (e.g. thesis, publication), and 4) contact details of two referees. Please ensure that each document is clearly labelled with your surname. Please send all documents to Kamlyn Ramkissoon by 30th April 2020. Interviews will be held in May 2020. Informal enquiries are welcome to Dr Vladimir Litvak (email: ).

Funding Notes

The starting date can be any date between being offered the position and 1st October 2020 and the contract is for 36 months. The studentship includes UK/EU tuition fees and a stipend along with additional funds to cover travel and accommodation during secondments and network activities. Overseas fees cannot be covered.

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