[Comp-neuro] PhD positions available at the University of Genova

Paolo Massobrio paolo.massobrio at unige.it
Wed Apr 8 11:11:52 CEST 2015

We are seeking highly motivated candidates for two PhD positions (3 years)
in Bioengineering at the Neuroengineering and Bio-Nano Technology Group (NBT
<http://www.nbtunige.it/> ), University of Genova <http://www.unige.it/> ,
Genova, ITALY.


Our labs are located in Genova
<http://www.turismo.comune.genova.it/spip.php?lang=en> , a small beautiful
town in northern Italy, both from historical (its historical center is the
largest of Europe) and naturalistic point of view (sea and mountains coexist
creating a unique landscape). Genova is only 1.30h away from Milan by train
and connected by plane to Rome (1.00h), London (2h) and Paris (1.30h).


The successful candidate will be involved in a research project focused on
the study of the computational properties of cortical assemblies coupled to
micro-electrode arrays. 

The two PhD projects are the following:

1.       2D and 3D neuronal networks coupled to microtransducer arrays for
the development of in vitro neurotoxicity tests

We are interested to investigate how computational properties emerge in 2D
and 3D neuronal populations and how information processing and transmission
is related to the topological properties of neuronal networks. In this
project, we propose to develop a systematic and controlled experimental
approach for investigating the dynamics of 2D and 3D neuronal networks
coupled to innovative high-density devices by means of advanced analysis
tools. We plan to extensively characterize and compare 2D and 3D neuronal
cultures by means of electrical and chemical stimulation. Within this
framework we seek at developing a new in vitro and automated system for
neurotoxicity tests. In the last part of the project we foresee to challenge
our experimental models with chemical substances and to study the
electrophysiological response with respect to specific parameters


2.      Development of computational models of neuronal assemblies to
understand their computational properties as a function of different network

The present project aims at investigating how to effectively interact with
neuronal systems by understating the role of the network connectivity in the
computational properties of small/large/interacting neuronal networks. In
particular, during the three-year research project, different computational
network models will be developed and investigated, in order to:

i) characterize the spontaneous activity of networks of neurons with
different architectures. In particular, 2D uniform/homogeneous networks, 2D
interconnected networks made up of few sub-populations (from 2 up to 4), and
3D structures will be taken into account. The observed dynamics will be
investigated by checking whether particular configurations may promote
phenomena like synchronization, emergence of critical phenomena, interplay
between structural and functional connectivity; ii) characterize the
stimulus-evoked activity induced by electrical stimulation in networks of
neurons with different architectures. It will be investigated whether the
evoked responses (i.e., the I/O function) can be modulated by structural


Candidates must have a master degree (or equivalent) in physics,
engineering, mathematics or a related field. Essential skills comprise
Matlab and/or C++/C# programming, as well as experience in computational


If you are really interested, please send your CV, the name and contact
details of two references, a description of your personal qualifications,
and a description of your research interests indicating which of the two
positions you are interested in.


Please, be sure to satisfy the aforementioned requirements (master degree
and essential skills). Before the hiring, candidates will be tested to
verify the effective knowledge.

Important dates are:

Deadline: 15th May 2015.

Starting Date: 1st  November 2015


For submissions and informal inquiries, please contact Paolo Massobrio
(paolo.massobrio at unige.it <mailto:paolo.massobrio at unige.it> )


Best regards




Paolo Massobrio, PhD

Assistant Professor of Bioengineering
Neuroengineering and Bio-Nano Technology - NBT - Lab
Department of Informatics, Bioengineering, Robotics and System Engineering -
University of Genova
Via Opera Pia 11A, 16145, GENOVA, ITALY
Phone: +39-010-3532761
Fax: +39-010-3532764
URL:  <http://www.dibris.unige.it/> www.dibris.unige.it; 
         <http://www.nbtunige.it/> www.nbtunige.it
E-mail:  <mailto:paolo.massobrio at unige.it> paolo.massobrio at unige.it


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