[Comp-neuro] PhD Opening on large-scale dynamics of functional networks and information routing (@Aix-Marseille University)

BATTAGLIA Demian demian.battaglia at univ-amu.fr
Mon Dec 9 17:58:00 CET 2019

We are recruiting one PhD fellow at the Institute for Systems Neuroscience at Aix-Marseille University. The student will work within Dr. Demian Battaglia’s group (theoretical neuroscientist), in strict interaction with other researchers at Aix-Marseille University (Andrea Brovelli, systems and cognitive neuroscientist; Alain Barrat, complex networks physicist).

The project will delve with the analysis of multi-frequency dynamic brain networks in large-scale electrophysiological recordings.

Brain regions interact between them in a highly dynamic manner even to perform very simple tasks, preventing too simplistic attempts of description. Flexibly changing patterns of information exchange and integration can be tracked using novel information theoretical and time-series analyses tools and generating directed multi-layer temporal networks representations of the data. In the framework of this project, a variety of different large-scale electrophysiological datasets (from rodents to non-human primates and humans), will be characterized based on complex network analyses tools that, initially forged in statistical physics, have not yet been adapted to be compliant with neural datasets, although they provide a natural language to describe the complex “life” of cell assemblies and transiently integrated coalitions of brain regions. The PhD fellow will characterize how spatio-spectro-temporal network patterns correlate or predict behavior and cognitive performance (e.g. in working memory or spatial navigation tasks) and, potentially, how these patterns are altered in specific animal pathology models (AD, ALS…).

Network analyses of empirical data may be complemented by the design of connectome-based computational models of multi-scale oscillations, to reverse engineer physiological mechanisms (e.g. alterations of excitability) that may underpin generalized functional connectivity changes, in control or pathological conditions.

This project is one of the “ESR” (Early Stage Researcher) positions opening within the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network (ITN) project “i-Conn” funded by the European Commission, under their H2020 program. Such prestige program offers ideal conditions to the successful candidate such as: a salary well superior to the national average of ~1.9k euros monthly (plus family allowance when applies), net after taxes, with full social security coverage; and generous grant money for training and traveling to conferences. Through the ITN project activities, the PhD fellow will have the opportunity to come in contact with leading research groups in the UK, Germany, Czech Republic, Austria and Cyprus adopting network science techniques in a wide variety of disciplines, including neuroscience, but also socio-economics, geography, astronomy, etc.

At Aix-Marseille University, the PhD fellow will integrate the second largest neuroscience community in France in a dynamic university with emphasis on interdisciplinary approaches. The PhD fellow will profit of the high-level training opportunities provided by the local “NeuroSchool” (https://neuro-marseille.org/en), an excellence PhD program in clinical and integrative neuroscience, as well as by convergence institutes as the Turing Center for Living Systems (http://centuri-livingsystems.org). In addition, Marseille is a vibrant multi-cultural city located in the beautiful natural and cultural context of Southern France, at a few hours only by direct high-speed train from European cities as Paris, Barcelona, Brussels or Frankfurt.

We seek for candidates with computational neuroscience, physics or computer science/machine learning background (ideally but not necessarily). The most important prerequisite is the willingness and skill to explore large-scale datasets. Previous experience in programming, computational modeling or network analyses is a plus. The working and training language is English.

IMPORTANT! some strict eligibility requirements apply to be eligible as an Early Stage Researcher funded by Marie Skłodowska-Curie program:

 1) The applicant should have — at the date of recruitment — less than 4 years of a research career, and not have a doctoral degree. The 4 years are measured from the date when they obtained the degree which would formally entitle them to embark on a PhD, either in the country where the degree was obtained or in the country where the PhD is provided.

 2) Trans-national mobility: The applicant — at the date of recruitment— should not have resided in the country where the research training takes place for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to recruitment, and not have carried out their main activity (work ,studies, etc.) in that country. For refugees under the Geneva Convention (1951 Refugee Convention and the 1967 Protocol), the refugee procedure (i.e. before refugee status is conferred) will not be counted as ‘period of residence/activity in the country of the beneficiary’.

To register your interest in applying for this position please, and to ask for any further information, please contact demian.battaglia at univ-amu.fr. To apply for this position, we require a copy of your CV, degree transcripts, motivation letter and the names and/or recommendation letters of 2 referees. Please include your master thesis as well and any publication you authored (included manuscripts at preprint or sufficiently advanced draft stages).
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