[Comp-neuro] PhD position in the Brain Dynamics of Anaesthetic Action

David Liley dliley at swin.edu.au
Fri Sep 20 05:37:53 CEST 2013

The Brain Dynamics Unit within the Brain and Psychological at Swinburne
University of Technology is looking for a motivated and capable PhD student
to work on the functional neuroimaging of anaesthetic action.  The planned
project, to be performed in collaboration with anaesthetists, will involve
the administration of the dissociative anaesthetic agents xenon (a noble
gas) and nitrous oxide ('laughing gas') to healthy participants while
simultaneous MEG and EEG is recorded. The induced changes in the functional
architecture of the recorded electromagnetic activity will then be
characterised using a range of existing and to be developed information
theoretic, graph theoretic and non-linear methods.  Attempts to account for
any induced changes in terms of mean field/mass action models of brain
electrical activity will be investigated.  The dissociative anaesthetic
agents are of particular interest because they are reported to increase
activity in the brain in addition to targeting glutamatergic
neurotransmitter systems implicated in the pathogenesis of a number of
psychiatric and neurological disorders.

The position is suitable for those entering the field of neuroscience from
other appropriate backgrounds - e.g., from theoretical physics - since
comprehensive skills in applied mathematics and scientific programming are
required. In this case the necessary neuroscience training will be provided
"on the job" during the first year. Interested applicants should have a
strong background in any of the following disciplines: theoretical physics,
mathematics, biomedical or electrical engineering or quantitative biology.
 A first class honours degree or equivalent is required with proficiency in
more than one of the following: C, Fortran, Python or Matlab

Researchers in the unit, led by Prof David Liley, have developed a
physiologically motivated theory of the dynamical genesis of the
electroencephalogram (EEG). The model accounts for the rhythms of the human
EEG and predicts their alteration by a range of pharmaceutical agents, in
particular that of anaesthetic and sedative agents. Numerical solutions of
the model's coupled set of non-linear partial differential equations have
revealed spatio-temporal structures similar to those observed in
experiment.  It is hoped that this model can contribute to our
understanding of how anaesthetic agents modulate brain activity.

The Brain Dynamics group is part of the Brain and Psychological Sciences
Research Centre (BPsyC), a vibrant, multi-disciplinary team of researchers
whose expertise spans several different fields that include physics,
psychology, psychophysiology, biophysics and the neurosciences. The BPsyC
has among the most comprehensive suite of functional neuroimaging
facilities available in Australia. These facilities include a 306 channel
Elekta TRIUX MEG system, a Siemens 3T TIM Trio MRI and multiple high
density EEG systems.

A range of scholarships for national and international students are
available, at up AUD 24,653 per year for three and a half years, tax-free.
The deadline for applications is the 31st October 2013. More details on the
application process can be found at
International students are required to sit an IELTS test (or equivalent,
e.g. TOEFL) with an average band score of at least 6.5, with no band less
than 6.0. Swinburne also strongly encourages minorities and women to apply.
Interested applicants should email Prof. David T. J. Liley at dliley(at)
Prof David Liley
Brain and Psychological Sciences Research Centre
Swinburne University of Technology
P.O. Box 218
Hawthorn VIC 3122

ph: +61 3 9214 8812
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