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  • A new Post Doc Position:

Delighted to announce a new postdoctoral research associate position to work on a project entitled “How the brain discovers patterns in sound sequences”. This project will be supervised by Dr Maria Chait at the UCL Ear Institute and conducted in collaboration with Dr. Marcus Pearce (Queen Mary University). Brain imaging will be carried out at UCL’s Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging.

The project will involve collection and analysis of behavioural  and brain imaging (EEG, MEG, fMIR) data in humans, development of software for running and analysing the experiments, as well as the preparation of research findings for presentations and publications. The post holder will also be expected to help supervise a research assistant and students working on the project. Initial funding for this post is available for 34 months.

Accumulating literature suggests that the brain is sensitive to statistical regularities in sensory input, at multiple time scales, and that this sensitivity plays a key role in our ability to understand, efficiently interact with, and survive in the environment. However, a key question - the process through which patterns are detected in the first place - has largely eluded investigation. The present project, based on a combination of behavioural, eye tracking and functional brain imaging (EEG, MEG, fMRI) focuses on this crucial missing link and will inform the current debate in systems neuroscience surrounding sensitivity to input statistics and predictive coding.

Releated recent publications:

Sohoglu, E., Chait, M. (2016). Detecting and representing predictable structure during auditory scene analysis. eLife, doi:10.7554/eLife.19113

Southwell, R., Baumann, A., Gal, C., Barascud, N., Friston, K., Chait, M. (2017). Is predictability salient? A study of attentional capture by auditory patterns. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, doi:10.1098/rstb.2016.0105

Barascud, N., Pearce, M.T., Griffiths, T.D., Friston, K.J., Chait, M. (2016). Brain responses in humans reveal ideal observer-like sensitivity to complex acoustic patterns. PNAS 113 (5), E616-E625. doi:10.1073/pnas.1508523

The UCL Ear Institute is a leading centre for hearing research in Europe, situated within one of the strongest neuroscience communities in the world at University College London. Neuroscience at UCL is ranked first in Europe and second in the world according to Thomson Reuters Essential Science Indicators. UCL is a highly interdisciplinary and collaborative environment that provides excellent opportunities for training and career development.

Key Requirements

The successful applicant will have a PhD in neuroscience or a neuroscience-related or quantitative discipline (e.g. biomedicine, engineering, physics) and proven ability to conduct high-quality original research and prepare results for publication. Essential skills include excellent time-management and organizational ability; proficiency in computer programming (e.g., Matlab, Python, C++); and good interpersonal, oral and written communication skills. The ideal applicant will be highly self-motivated; able to problem-solve and trouble-shoot technical difficulties; attentive to detail and meticulous about record-keeping; able to work independently and as part of a multidisciplinary team; and committed to the highest ethical and professional standards in research. Previous experience with functional brain imaging, neural data analysis, psychophysical assessment, and/or auditory science or acoustics would be desirable.

Further Details

You should apply for this post (Ref #: 1618836) through UCL's online recruitment website, www.ucl.ac.uk/hr/jobs, where you can download a job description and person specifications. Closing Date for applications is: 1 Feb 2017.

Interviews for shortlisted applicants will take place between end of February and the first week of March. Provisional start date: mid April.

For an informal discussion please contact Dr. Maria Chait (m.chait@ucl.ac.uk).


  • We offer MSc and BSC –level projects to students from a variety of Neuroscience-related programs across UCL and the University of London. Please email Maria Chait for more details.