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State-dependent neural processing

  • Full or part time
    Dr J Kohl
  • Application Deadline
    Tuesday, November 12, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

This 4-year PhD studentship is offered in Dr Johnny Kohl’s Group based at the Francis Crick Institute (the Crick).

Our goal is to understand how physiological states shape information processing in the brain. Instinctive behaviours such as aggression, feeding or parenting are orchestrated by evolutionarily sculpted neural circuits. Considerable progress has been made in deconstructing these circuits in recent years (e.g [1]) and it has become clear that their function profoundly depends on the animal’s current physiological – i.e. reproductive, metabolic etc. – state [2, 3]. However, we know little about the molecular, cellular and circuit-level mechanisms by which internal states alter neural processing in vivo.

We are particularly interested in how hormonal changes interact with the neural circuits controlling instinctive behaviours such as parenting or aggression and will use in vivo imaging and electrophysiology, viral tracing and behavioural profiling to address these questions in mice. The exact project will be developed with the supervisor, depending on applicants’ interests and backgrounds. Please contact Dr Kohl to discuss further details.

This will be an exciting opportunity to use state-of-the-art approaches to uncover the principles underlying state-dependent neural processing and, thus, to contribute to our understanding of brain function in health and disease.

Candidate background
The successful candidate will have a background in neuroscience, engineering, biosciences or a related field. Since the project will involve acquiring and analysing complex data, strong quantitative and programming skills are particularly desirable.

Talented and motivated students passionate about doing research are invited to apply for this PhD position. The successful applicant will join the Crick PhD Programme in September 2020 and will register for their PhD at one of the Crick partner universities (Imperial College London, King’s College London or UCL).

Applicants should hold or expect to gain a first/upper second-class honours degree or equivalent in a relevant subject and have appropriate research experience as part of, or outside of, a university degree course and/or a Masters degree in a relevant subject.

APPLICATIONS MUST BE MADE ONLINE VIA OUR WEBSITE (ACCESSIBLE VIA THE ‘APPLY NOW’ LINK ABOVE) BY 12:00 (NOON) 13 NOVEMBER 2019. APPLICATIONS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED IN ANY OTHER FORMAT.

Funding Notes

Successful applicants will be awarded a non-taxable annual stipend of £22,000 plus payment of university tuition fees. Students of all nationalities are eligible to apply.

References

1. Kohl, J., Babayan, B. M., Rubinstein, N. D., Autry, A. E., Marin-Rodriguez, B., Kapoor, V., . . . Dulac, C. (2018)
Functional circuit architecture underlying parental behaviour.
Nature 556: 326-331. PubMed abstract
2. Kohl, J., Autry, A. E. and Dulac, C. (2017)
The neurobiology of parenting: A neural circuit perspective.
Bioessays 39: 1600159. PubMed abstract
3. Kohl, J. and Dulac, C. (2018)
Neural control of parental behaviors.
Current Opinion in Neurobiology 49: 116-122. PubMed abstract



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