[Comp-neuro] PhD Studentship "Modelling of retinal neural networks" (Full-time, full-tuition, UK/EU only)

Etienne Benoît Roesch etienne.roesch at gmail.com
Sun Mar 10 22:55:09 CET 2013

University of Reading PhD Studentship (UK/EU only)

Project Title: Mesoscopic modelling of retinal neural networks

Supervisor: Dr. Etienne B. Roesch

School/Department: School of Systems Engineering & Centre for Integrative Neuroscience and Neurodynamics


The goal of the project is to build neural field models of the retina that will allow the investigation of the architecture underlying visual information processing.  These models will also be used to simulate the disturbances yielding visual impairment in early diabetic retinopathy.  Neural fields are integro-differential equations, similar to wave equations, that represent electrical and chemical neurodynamics on continuous space-time scales.  They are thus ideal to study populations of cells as homogeneously structured, and as dependent on spatial contiguity as the retina, whilst exploring complex nonlinear dynamics of neural information processing.  The construction of the models will be informed by connectomic and physiological data, and the models subjected to extensive parameter-sensitivity analyses. The project falls into the remit of the University of Reading’s strategic investment to support neuroscience and interdisciplinary research.  The student will be supervised by Dr. Etienne B. Roesch and Prof. Ingo Bojak.

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 the student’s aptitude and preference, the candidate will 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, in order to identify and validate exploitable applications of the models. 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.

Eligibility:  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 (full time) to the University – see http://www.reading.ac.uk/Study/apply/pg-applicationform.aspx . Once you have submitted your application, you should receive an email to confirm receipt of your online application.  Please forward this email, along with a covering letter, to Dr. Etienne B. Roesch, e.b.roesch at reading.ac.uk, by the application deadline.

Please quote the reference GS13-15 in the ‘Scholarships applied for’ box that appears within the Funding Section of your online application.

Application Deadline:  Friday 15th March 2013

Further Enquiries:  Please contact Dr. Etienne B. Roesch, e.b.roesch at reading.ac.uk.

Dr. Etienne B. Roesch
Lecturer, University of Reading, UK
– Cybernetics, School of Systems Engineering
– Centre for Integrative Neuroscience and Neurodynamics

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