[Comp-neuro] University of Reading PhD Studentship (UK/EU only)

Ingo Bojak i.bojak at reading.ac.uk
Thu Jan 17 15:33:20 CET 2013

*University of Reading PhD Studentship (UK/EU only) *


  Project Title: Dendrites and layers: Neural field models in three

*Supervisor:*Prof Ingo Bojak

*School/Department:*School of Systems Engineering

*Neural field models treat cortical tissue as continuous with emergent 
properties. Since neocortex has the surface area of three A4 sheets but 
is only 1-5 mm thick, classical theories locate neural activity on a 2D 
"cortical sheet". This approach has been highly successful in describing 
in particular the electroencephalogram (EEG). However, neurons are 
organized into six anatomical layers. They also form dendritic trees, 
branching fibers that create large input areas, and project axons 
(output fibers) to the dendrites of other neurons. Their size and 
arrangement depends systematically on neuron type and depth, creating 
neural "microcircuits" across layers. This project brings this third 
cortical dimension to neural field models.We will develop a 3D theory 
that incorporates shunting synaptic inputs arranged in realistic spatial 
patterns across the dendrites, and produce a software package that 
allows rapid evaluation of such models (possibly with GPU acceleration). 
We will fit laminar electrode and/or EEG data from schizophrenic 
patients, and explore (speculative) functional consequences of dendritic 
processing, like burst-suppression in anesthesia or acquired epilepsy.

This is a computational neuroscience project which requires skills and 
knowledge in 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. 
Neural field models are a particularly accommodating subject for 
transitions from physics, engineering, etc. into the life sciences. 
However, we will also place a strong focus on describing real-world 
data; depending on student aptitude and preference, the candidate can 
engage with ongoing electrophysiological and animal experiments directly 
relevant to this project (e.g., acquired epilepsy) via the 
Co-Supervisor, Dr Ben Whalley of the Reading School of Pharmacy, in 
order to identify and validate exploitable applications of the model.


*Applicants should hold a minimum of a UK Honours Degree at 2:1 level or 
equivalent in a relevant subject.Please note that due to restrictions on 
the funding this studentship is for UK/EU applicants only.


*Funding Details
*Studentship will cover Home/EU Fees and pay the Research Council 
minimum stipend (£13,590 for 2011/12) for up to 3 years. The studentship 
will begin in October 2013.

*How to apply
*To apply for this studentship please submit an application for a *PhD 
in Cybernetics *to the University at 
quote the reference *GS13-07 *in the '/Scholarships applied for'/ box 
which appears within the /Funding Section/ of your online application.

*Application Deadline
*Friday, 15^th March 2013.


*Further Enquiries
*Please contact Prof Ingo Bojak, i.bojak at reading.ac.uk 
<mailto:i.bojak at reading.ac.uk>. Prof Bojak will join the University of 
Reading in May 2013. Interviews may be conducted in his current place of 
work (University of Birmingham) prior to this date.

Ingo Bojak


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