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- PhD Studentship: Understanding how Alzheimer's disease disrupts computation in the brain
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PhD Studentship: Understanding how Alzheimer's disease disrupts computation in the brain
12 February 2014
Applications are invited for a PhD studentship in collaboration between the UCL Institute of Neurology and Eli Lilly UK, to start October 1st 2014.
Project: The cognitive decline typical of
Alzheimer's disease results from a dysregulation of the brain’s large-scale
neuronal activity patterns. An understanding of how neuronal activity patterns
are disrupted in Alzheimer's, and how this in turn affects cognition, would
provide tremendously useful knowledge to aid the development of new treatments
for this disease.
There are now several mouse models that mimic the molecular phenotypes of Alzheimer's disease, but very little knowledge exists on how neuronal activity is disrupted in these models in vivo. Such knowledge would provide not only a base from which to develop rational therapies for this disease, but also an opportunity for stringent testing of candidate therapies by their ability to reverse the alterations in neuronal activity patterns typical of disease models.
This PhD project will study how the coordination of neuronal
populations in the hippocampus and neocortex are altered in mouse models of
Alzheimer's disease, and how this dysregulation might in turn lead to cognitive
The successful applicant will use microfabricated neural probes to record the activity of hundreds of neurons simultaneously, and use advanced computational methods to study how these activity patterns differ between control mice and Alzheimer's models. Standardized behavioral testing will be used to quantify the degree to which alteration of these patterns correlates with disrupted cognitive function in individual mice.
The project will involve experimental physiology as well as analysis of the gigabytes of data produced by large-scale neuronal recordings. It is therefore suitable for a candidate who has not only an interest in how the brain works, but also the ability to perform large-scale computational projects using MATLAB, Python or a similar language.
Funding: The studentship is funded by the MRC and Eli Lilly UK for 4 years and will cover UK/EU university tuition fees, research expenses, travel to scientific conferences, an annual stipend of £15,863, and an annual industrial partner contribution of £2,500.
Entry requirements: Applicants should have or expect to obtain a 1st or upper 2nd class honours degree in either a biological discipline such as Neuroscience, Physiology, or Medicine, or a quantitative science such as Physics, Mathematics, Computer Science, or Engineering. Prior experience in neuroscience is not necessary for candidates from the quantitative sciences.
Informal enquiries: Please email Professor Kenneth Harris for further information about the project (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Application procedures: Application is by CV and covering letter emailed to: email@example.com. Please put “MRC Lilly studentship” in the subject line.
Deadline: Midnight 7th March 2014
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