[Comp-neuro] 2 PhD positions in Computational Neuroscience in Juelich, Germany

Martina Reske m.reske at fz-juelich.de
Wed Jul 9 14:54:37 CEST 2014

Dear community,

we are seeking two PhD candidates to support our team!

Project 1:

In the framework of the Klinische Forschergruppe (KFO) 219 "Basal
ganglia-cortex loops: Mechanisms of pathologic interactions and their
therapeutic modulation" we have an open PhD student position in work
package 9: "Mathematical modeling of development and suppression of
pathological activation in basal ganglia – cortex loops“.

This project focuses on the generation of pathological beta band
oscillations in basal ganglia and their susceptibility to suppression by
means of pharmacological challenges or deep brain stimulation.
Specifically, this projects aims to model dynamics in basal ganglia –
thalamus – cortex loops drawing on computational neuroscience approaches
and data deriving from other work packages within the research consortium.

We are seeking for a candidate with a master’s degree in physics,
mathematics or computer science. The candidate will develop microscopic
network models and will be supervised by the projects leaders,
particularly by a postdoctoral fellow supervising the entire work
package as well as Prof. Morrison. Programming expertise is appreciated.
The candidate will be primarily based at the Jülich Research Center to
foster interactions with theoretical neuroscientists. In addition, the
candidate is expected to work jointly with project partners at the
University Clinic of Cologne.

We offer a position in a creative and international team, themes ranging
from computational neuroscience to simulation technology. The Jülich
Research Center is one of the largest research centers in Germany, with
excellent scientific equipment, located on a green campus, and near the
cultural centers Köln, Düsseldorf, and Aachen.

The PhD position is available for 3 years, starting as soon as possible.

Applications, including a motivation letter, CV, publication list,
copies of university certificates, and one reference letter should be
sent as a single PDF email attachment (max. 10MB) mentioning the
internal reference code KFO219-TP9 to should be sent to:

Dr. Martina Reske (m.reske at fz-juelich.de) – Scientific Coordinator
The call is open until the position has been filled.

Project 2:

Project title: Neural circuit mechanisms of reinforcement learning

Project description:

Reinforcement learning is considered to play a major role in
decision-making, and impairments in RL have been associated with various
neuropsychiatric disorders including addiction and depression. Since it
was found that the activity of midbrain dopamine (DA) neurons appears to
represent the reward prediction error, various brain regions in the
cerebral cortex and the basal ganglia have been shown to represent
several variables appeared in mathematical formulations of RL
algorithms. However, underlying mechanisms at the cellular and circuit
levels within and between each of those regions remain largely unknown.
In this project, we address this issue by developing and study neuronal
network models of learning from reward and punishment in the brain's
basal ganglia network.

The project will be carried out by the group Functional Neural Circuits
at the Institute for Neuroscience and Medicine (INM-6) and Institute for
Advanced Simulation (IAS-6) led by Prof. Abigail Morrison, together with
our Japanese collegues (Kenji Morita, University of Tokyo). The project
is supported by German Ministry of Science (BMBF) in the framework of
the German-Japan cooperation in Computational Neuroscience. The project
incorporates tools and methods from different fields, ranging from
neuroscience to physics and mathematical modeling to build large scale
simulations of neural networks. Supervision is provided by Prof. Abigail
Morrison and Dr. Jenia Jitsev, both having considerable experience in
neural network modeling, with focus on plasticity and learning.

We seek a highly motivated candidate with curiosity and persistence. A
preferable candidate will have background and strong Master degree in
either in neuroscience, physics, mathematics, biology, computer science
or a related field of natural science. The candidate should have
experience in basic software engineering techniques (minimal requirement
is ability to write clear well-structured code in either C++ or Python).
Furthermore, a solid basis in mathematical modelling (handling
differential equations, basics of stability analysis) is essential. The
most important requirement is the ability to learn new things and to
find ways to solve novel problems. The PhD position is available for 3
years, starting as soon as possible.

During the PhD, you will also have opportunity to visit conferences,
workshops, summer schools and labs of our partners in Tokyo and benefit
from their experience, too. You will be a part of a creative and young
team, rich with inspiration for the different state-of-the art topics in
experimental and theoretical neuroscience, and have the opportunity to
take part at the forefront of current neuroscientific research.

Research Center Jülich, Germany, is located on a green campus and hosts
excellent facilities, including the Jülich Supercomputing Center, and is
part of newly starting EU Human Brain Project, the largest
neuroscientific initiative to study the brain funded in Europe. Jülich
is close to large urban centers like Cologne, Aachen and Düsseldorf and
offers thus a rich cultural environment to spend time in.

Applications, including a motivation letter, a CV, copies of university
certificates, and one letter of reference should be sent as a single PDF
email attachment (max. 10MB) mentioning the internal reference code
BRDJ-PhD to:

Dr. Martina Reske (m.reske at fz-juelich.de) – Scientific Coordinator

The call is open until the position has been filled.


Dr. Martina Reske
Scientific Coordinator

Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine (INM-6)
Computational and Systems Neuroscience &
Institute for Advanced Simulation (IAS-6)
Theoretical Neuroscience
Jülich Research Centre and JARA
Jülich, Germany
Work +49.2461.611916
Work Cell +49.151.26156918
Fax +49.2461.619460

Forschungszentrum Juelich GmbH
52425 Juelich
Sitz der Gesellschaft: Juelich
Eingetragen im Handelsregister des Amtsgerichts Dueren Nr. HR B 3498
Vorsitzender des Aufsichtsrats: MinDir Dr. Karl Eugen Huthmacher
Geschaeftsfuehrung: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Wolfgang Marquardt (Vorsitzender),
Karsten Beneke (stellv. Vorsitzender), Prof. Dr.-Ing. Harald Bolt,
Prof. Dr. Sebastian M. Schmidt

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