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Predicting signalling patterns in neural networks associated with cognitive dysfunctions

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  • Full or part time
    Dr Paulo Rocha
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Project team: Dr Paulo Rocha & Prof David Tosh

Project enquiries: [Email Address Removed]

Recording and decoding the electrical activity from the brain is currently a very important approach used by pharmaceuticals and the bioelectronics industry.

Recently, we have devised a disruptive technology able to read and stimulate neuronal networks. Our sensors comprise an insulating substrate and large conducting area electrodes that enable a viable bidirectional communication between the neural network and a computer system. With our sensors, we were able to program a network of primary hippocampal neurons, relevant to memory, to mimic a previously used stimulus and in this way probe memory-related events in-vitro.

Since neuronal networks and connections start to develop at early maturation stages, the engineering challenge for the PhD student is to (1) Create a brain-on-a-chip platform to enable long term neuronal growth/maturation and their role in mimicking an input stimulus; (2) Identify the electric charge and materials to deliver long term and safe stimulation; (3) Determine, in real time, the stimulus pattern, polarity and magnitude that allows cells to mimic a input signal and (4) Determine the proteins responsible for impairing memory in-vitro as a reliable in-vivo model.

Synaptic plasticity will be investigated by using state-of-the-art human-derived Induced Pluripotent Stem cells (iPS) provided by the largest private pharmaceutical company in Germany Boehringer Ingelheim.

Applicants should hold, or expect to receive, an undergraduate Masters first class degree or MSc distinction (or non-UK equivalent). English language entry requirements must be met at the time of application to be considered for funding, see

Formal applications should be made via the University of Bath’s online application form for a PhD in Electronic & Electrical Engineering. Please ensure that you state the full project title and lead supervisor name on the application form:

This project is eligible for inclusion in two funding rounds, subject to funding availability. Application deadlines: Wednesday 29 January 2020 & Wednesday 25 March 2020. Early submission is advised. A full application must have been submitted before inclusion in a funding round.

Anticipated start date: 28 September 2020

Funding Notes

UK/EU candidates will be considered for a University Research Studentship, covering UK/EU tuition fees, a training support fee of £1,000 per annum and a tax-free maintenance allowance at the UKRI Doctoral Stipend rate (£15,009 in 2019-20) for a period of up to 3.5 years.

How good is research at University of Bath in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Metallurgy and Materials?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 20.50

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

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