[Comp-neuro] Fully funded PhD position, University of Genoa, Italy – "Computational Neuroengineering"

Silvio P. Sabatini silvio.sabatini at unige.it
Fri Apr 22 18:13:48 CEST 2016


Applications are invited for one full-time PhD studentship for a period 
of 3 years, at the Department of Informatics, Bioengineering, Robotics, 
and System Engineering (DIBRIS), University of Genoa, Italy.

The position will start on Nov 1st, 2016 on the following research project:

*Sensory processing in large-scale hierarchical networks of interacting 
neuronal assemblies*

Feed-forward networks provide a minimal framework to study coding and 
decoding strategies as well as to interpret certain aspects of cortical 
information processing. Following this architectural paradigm, deep 
networks have been proposed to specialize for different perceptual 
tasks, for taking decisions, or planning motor acts. However, such 
networks rely on an over-simplification in which single nodes model 
homogeneous population of cells and connections represent average 
interactions among populations (i.e., meta-network approach).
The proposed project aims to increase the complexity and the realism of 
this model by designing and analyzing the behavior of large-scale 
hierarchical network of interacting neuronal assemblies. Each node 
should be modeled as an assembly composed of excitatory and inhibitory 
neurons with their own dynamics.
The neurons of each assembly will respond to properties of the visual 
signal through their afferent receptive fields. Yet, their overall 
behavior will emerge from recurrent interactions, and will be ruled by 
network-parameters, like balance between excitation and inhibition, kind 
of connectivity, number of neurons of each of these assemblies.
The goal is to develop a new model and to investigate the role of 
specific vs. unspecific inhibition on the tuning properties of the 
single cells, and on the efficiency of the code provided by the emerging 
functionally homogeneous populations, and on their attendant adaptation 
capabilities. The dynamic properties of the network will be analyzed in 
relation with the interconnections topology, and eventually related to 
its sensory processing capabilities.


The research will be conducted at the NBT and PSPC labs of DIBRIS, under 
the joint guidance of Paolo Massobrio and Silvio P. Sabatini.

Successful applicants would have a background (M.Sc. degree) in 
bioengineering, computer science, physics or related disciplines; strong 
interest in computational neuroscience; attitude for problem solving. 
Interests in understanding/learning basic biology. Essential skills 
comprise Matlab and/or C++/C# programming. Experience in computational 
neuroscience is a plus.


* HOW TO APPLY

Candidates must have:
- a University degree at Master level (or expect to obtain it by October 
31st, 2016) in Bioengineering, Computer Science, Physics or related 
disciplines;
- strong interest in computational neuroscience; attitude for problem 
solving. Interests in understanding/learning basic biology.
- Essential skills comprise Matlab and/or C++/C# programming. Experience 
in computational neuroscience is a plus.

Online application is possible till June 10th, 2016 (at noon) Italian time

Full details on the call and the application procedure are available at:
http://www.studenti.unige.it/postlaurea/dottorati/XXXII/ENG/
http://phd.dibris.unige.it/biorob/index.php/how-to-apply


Prospective students, please contact either Paolo Massobrio 
(paolo.massobrio at unige.it) or Silvio P. Sabatini 
(silvio.sabatini at unige.it) providing your CV and qualifications, the 
name and contact details of two references, and a description of your 
research interests.


* WHERE

NBT-Lab has a recognized experience in the field of in vitro 
electrophysiology (gained through several national and international 
projects), computational neuroscience and neuroengineering. Currently, 
the main goal of the lab is the understanding of the interplay between 
dynamics and connectivity in large-scale neuronal networks.

PSPC-Lab has a long-standing expertise in visual coding and 
multidimensional signal representation, robot perception and computer 
vision. In the last years, the lab’s research activity focused on the 
analysis of the structural mechanisms of visuo-spatial cognition, 
responsible for orienting and interacting in the 3D space.

Our labs are located in Genova, 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).


Regards,

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Silvio P. SABATINI, PhD                         [PSPC Research Group]
Professor of Bioengineering
DIBRIS - University of Genova     |  e_mail:silvio.sabatini at unige.it
Via Opera Pia, 11A                |  phone: +39 010 3532092/3532794
I-16145 Genova (ITALY)            |  fax:   +39 010 3532289/3536533
URL:http://pspc.unige.it
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"Imagination is more important than knowledge..."   [Albert Einstein]



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