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The impact of critical illness on brain structure and function: Bioinformatic approaches to investigating mouse behaviour using automated behavioural tests

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  • Full or part time
    Dr Julius Emmrich
    Prof U Dirnagl
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

One in three survivors of critical illness of any cause is discharged from hospital with severe, long-term cognitive impairment. The organic correlate is diffuse cerebral damage and neuronal death. However, the mechanism is unknown.

We want to expand our understanding of the underlying mechanisms of neuronal dysfunction and death during and after sepsis, in order to develop therapeutic strategies capable of protecting the brain against the ensuing cognitive impairment. Because of the power of genetics, mice are ideal animals to investigate relevant neuroinflammatory and phagocytic pathways, yet assessing cognitive function in mice is a challenge.

The overall aim of the project is to quantitatively define the effect of critical illness on animal behaviour and cognition. The successful candidate will be involved in analysing a wealth of data generated by behavioural experiments using state-of-the art and newly developed automated behavioural tests and advanced computational/statistical techniques.

The PhD program in Medical Neurosciences at Charité Berlin is a 3-year programme. Throughout the programme research work is supplemented by facultative seminars, elective courses, and summer schools. More on the programme can be found here: http://www.medical-neurosciences.de/en/program/phd/.

This project receives funding from Einstein Foundation Berlin and the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (Bundesinstitut für Risikobewertung).

Funding Notes

Applicants should hold an MSc (or equivalent degree) with a strong background in bioinformatics, computer science, systems biology, cognitive neuroscience or a related discipline and should have basic programming skills (e.g., R, MATLAB). Outstanding candidates with a BSc degree (or equivalent degree) are also welcome to apply.

Successful candidates will be supported with a generous PhD fellowship covering living expenses and tuition. The candidate will be supervised by Professor Ulrich Dirnagl.


Application Process:

To apply, please send a curriculum vitae, academic transcripts, and a covering letter indicating why you are interested in and suited to this project to Dr Julius Emmrich ([email protected]). Closing date for application is February 19, 2016; selection will be completed by March 1. The accepted candidate may start the research project as early as April 2016.

If you have questions or would like further information about the project, we encourage you to contact Dr Emmrich ([email protected]) directly before making your formal application.

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