[Comp-neuro] Post-Doc Position Opening

Samir Suweis samir.suweis at pd.infn.it
Thu Feb 19 15:31:40 CET 2015

Position Title: Postdoctoral Fellow

Position location: Padova, Italy, 35131

Subject Area: Statistical Physics/Neuroscience/Complex Systems

Position ID: LIPh lab, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Padova


The LIPh Group of the University of Padua invites applications for a postdoctoral position within the project “Emergence of criticality in the brain” (see Summary below). Appointment duration: 18 months, with possible extension. Start: May 2015 or earlier. Salary will be competitive on European standards, depending on candidate’s experience and qualifications.

Profile: strong background on statistical physics. Candidates with both analytical and numerical (e.g. GPU computing / Data Analysis) skills will be favored. Past research experience on brain network modeling / neuroscience is preferable, although not mandatory.

The LIPH group, headed by prof. Amos Maritan, is active on a broad spectrum of subjects and it is a vibrant, interdisciplinary research team that benefits greatly from collaboration from all around the world. More information can be found at: http://www.pd.infn.it/~maritan

 Within the project, the candidate will also work in collaboration with Vassanelli’s ‘NeuroChip’ Lab (www.vassanellilab.eu) where experimental measurements of neuronal network activity will be performed using advanced high-resolution recording techniques.

Interested applicants are requested to submit a CV, publication list, a brief cover letter (max 1 pages) and at least two letters of recommendation. All material should be sent to suweis at pd.infn.it. For further information please contact A. Maritan (maritan at pd.infn.it).

The deadline for applications is April 25, 2014. Later applications will also be considered until the positions are filled

Summary of the project “Emergence of criticality in the brain”.

The project will address the more fundamental question on how and why living systems are often found to be tuned near a critical state. Our approach will try to justify the ubiquitous critical behavior of living systems in terms of its evolutionary advantage. In particular we will expand abstract and general theoretical framework developed in [1] to the context of Boolean networks and by building adaptive evolutionary models on heterogeneous complex networks.  In this way we will be able to have a more physical and close description of the particular system under study, i.e. the interaction networks of real neurons.


We will then verify and characterize the emergence of criticality in brain networks by analyzing neuronal activity and its propagation as measured in Vassanelli’s lab. Criticality and power law behavior will be assessed by looking at the presence of activity avalanches of firing neurons, taking advantage of the high-resolution and large-scale features of the new recording method. The topological architectures of neural network evolved under different stimuli and the corresponding degree distribution will be also studied. In the first year, we will mainly focus on investigating the spontaneous emergence of criticality in neuronal cultures from the rat cortex. In the second year, networks in slices form the somatosensory barrel cortex will be assessed.


[1] Hidalgo, J., Grilli, J., Suweis, S., Muñoz, M. A., Banavar, J. R., & Maritan, A. (2014). Information-based fitness and the emergence of criticality in living systems. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111(28), 10095-10100.

Samir Suweis, Ph.D.
twitter: @SamirSuweis
Post-Doc Researcher @ Liph Lab
Physics Department, Padova University
Tel: 049 827 72 51

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