[Comp-neuro] PhD studentship in Bristol

Cian O'Donnell cian.odonnell at bristol.ac.uk
Sat Oct 12 07:52:00 CEST 2019

We are looking for a computational neuroscience PhD student to start September 2020 to do computational modelling of synaptic plasticity in neurodevelopmental brain disorders. You would mainly be based in the University of Bristol in the group of Cian O’Donnell, and co-supervised by Krasi Tsaneva-Atanasova (University of Exeter) and Jeremy Hall (Cardiff University).

Your background can be flexible but training in neuroscience, mathematical modelling and/or scientific programming would be beneficial. Usually we use Julia, Python or Matlab programming languages.

Project outline: Autism and Schizophrenia, two of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders, have been linked with ~100 different genetic mutations each. Many of the implicated genes code for proteins involved in synaptic plasticity. It may be that these distinct mutations converge to give similar alterations to the “rules of synaptic plasticity”, and therefore affect learning and development. L-type calcium channel are one notable example, frequently popping up in risk gene lists and known to play crucial roles in synaptic plasticity. In this PhD project you would extend our existing biophysical models of calcium signalling at rodent hippocampal synapses to try to figure out the role of dysfunctional L-type calcium ion channels in these brain disorders. A more detailed project description can be found here: https://www.gw4biomed.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/sites/9/2019/09/Computational-modelling-of-dysfunctional-synaptic-plasticity-in-neuropsychiatric-disorders.pdf

The project will involve numerical simulations with Cian O’Donnell (Bristol), mathematical analysis of reduced models with Krasi Tsaneva-Atanasova (Exeter), using electrophysiological and calcium imaging data from genetic animal models of neuropsychiatric disorders collected in the lab of Jeremy Hall (Cardiff).

You would apply directly to the MRC GW4 BioMed PhD program (https://www.gw4biomed.ac.uk) which spans Bristol, Cardiff, Exeter and Bath Universities. Application deadline is 25th November and open only to UK or EU citizens or residents (see GW4Biomed site for eligibility details). Please contact Cian O’Donnell (cian.odonnell at bristol.ac.uk<mailto:cian.odonnell at bristol.ac.uk>) to discuss before applying.

More info on Cian O’Donnell’s group: https://seis.bristol.ac.uk/~co15268
And the lively Bristol Computational Neuroscience Unit: https://bristolcnu.github.io
Krasi Tsaneva-Atanasova: https://emps.exeter.ac.uk/mathematics/staff/kt298
Jeremy Hall: https://www.cardiff.ac.uk/people/view/57718-hall-jeremy

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