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Neural networks of the retina and visual function

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  • Full or part time
    Dr Roesch
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

Project Overview:

Conventional wisdom limits the function of the retina to the mere capture of static pixel images that are than transmitted to the brain for further processing. The goal of the project is to challenge this idea by investigating the link between structure and function in retinal neural networks. This is an interdisciplinary project that requires skills and knowledge in empirical neuroscience, applied mathematics and programming. Candidates that have a strong background in at least two of these three fields are welcome to apply, if they are enthusiastic about the third.

Part of the project may involve mathematical modelling, which is particularly accommodating for transitions from physics, engineering, etc. into the life sciences. We will also place a strong focus on gathering and describing real-world data; depending on the student’s aptitude and preference, the candidate may be given the opportunity to engage with ongoing electrophysiological experimentation directly relevant to this project, in our lab and with collaborators in the UK and internationally. Additionally, the candidate will be granted access to the cluster of NVIDIA Tesla GPUs and other facilities at the Centre for Integrative Neuroscience and Neurodynamics, as well as at the Brain Embodiments Laboratory.

School of Systems Engineering, University of Reading:

The University of Reading is one of the UK’s 20 most research-intensive universities and among the top 200 universities in the world. Achievements include the Queen’s Award for Export Achievement (1989) and the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher Education (1998, 2006 and 2009). This project will take place in the School of Systems Engineering (SSE), which has a strong reputation for its innovative research in computer science, cybernetics, and electronic engineering. Recent major investments have further strengthened the neuroscience activities in SSE, with two new professors, three new lecturers and the creation of a Brain Embodiment Lab.


Applicants should have a bachelors (at least 2.1 or equivalent) or masters degree in empirical neuroscience, computational neuroscience, mathematics, physics or a related discipline. Strong interest in interdisciplinary research is a must.

How to apply:

(1) Submit an application for a PhD in Cybernetics using the link below.
(2) After submitting your application you will receive an email to confirm receipt; email should be forwarded along with a covering letter and full CV to Dr Etienne B. Roesch ([email protected]).
(3) *IMPORTANT NOTE* In the online application system, there is a section for “Research proposal” and a box that says “If you have already been in contact with a potential supervisor, please tell us who” – in this box, please enter “Dr. Etienne B. Roesch”.

Application Deadline:

Applications accepted all year round.

Funding Notes

We welcome applications from self-funded students worldwide for this project.

Students from Brazil: we welcome and support applications for the Science Without Borders Scholarship (Ciência sem Fronteiras) - http://www.reading.ac.uk/sciencewithoutbordersscholarships.

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