Job Offer | Two PhD positions in Neuroscience

Posted by on Aug 07, 2017 in Job offer | Comments Off

Two PhD positions in Neuroscience

PhysioNet Team, Institute of System Neuroscience (INS), UMR1106 AMU-Inserm, Marseille, FRANCE

Two 3-year PhD positions are offered at INS in the field of epilepsy, starting before the end of 2017.
They are part of the M-GATE ITN project 765549, which is financed by EU and offers high level salary. Students will be able to travel to M-GATE EU partners and learn complemetary techniques, exposing them to a beyond the state of the art multi- and trans-disciplinary project

Position 1. Disruption of memory circuit function in epilepsy.
Supervisor: ChristopheBernard, in collaboration with SISSA, INMED, UCL.

Temporal Lobe Epilepsy is associated with cognitive deficits. The underlying mechanisms remain unknown. We are now routinely performing simultaneous recordings with high-density silicon probes in the nucleus reuniens, hippocampus and medium prefrontal cortex to study working memory in freely moving control rats. We will use the same approach in a TLE rat model. We will also record the entorhinal cortexhippocampus-prefrontal cortex circuit. We will focus on neural codes and global dynamics. Specifically, we will use three key measures: sequence activation, inter-area coherence, and ability to plan future actions. We predict that a failure to encode/retrieve and/or build maps may explain cognitive deficits. SISSA will model the limited lesion of the hippocampus we make experimentally and make predictions regarding alterations in neuronal dynamics. Predictions will be tested experimentally, via a constant feedback between experimental and theoretical approaches.

Relevant team publications: Chauviere et al., J Neurosc, 2009; Ann Neurol, 2012; Marguet at al,Nature Med 2015.


Position 2. Neural, Metabolic and biochemical mechanisms of epileptic seizure genesis and propagation.
Supervisors: Christophe Bernard with Viktor Jirsa, in collaboration with UCL, RU, and ATLAS.

We have proposed a comprehensive mathematical framework that includes cellular and synaptic network variables to explain seizure dynamics. The model predicts that a state variable evolving slowly in time is required to explain seizure onset, time course and offset. Preliminary data show that molecular events such as those related to metabolism and energy supply, which evolve slowly in time, are integral components of this state variable. Alterations in molecular processes may also underlie cognitive deficits. We will combine molecular sensors and high-density electrophysiological recordings to obtain a complete electro-molecular picture of the events that may explain altered neuronal coding/retrieval, using computational frameworks such as reinforcement learning (in collaboration with UCL, DEEPMIND), and data analytical techniques for detecting molecular/neural patterns and sequences (in collaboration with RU), in particular for seizure prediction.

Relevant team publications: Khogagholy et al., Nature Comm, 2013; Jirsa et al., Brain 2014.


Good knowledge of MATLAB or similar computing software is required. Prior experience in in vivo intracellular electrophysiology is a plus. Candidates should apply by sending a CV, a brief outline of current research, scientific interests and career goals, as well as the name and contact details of at least two academic references to Dr. Christophe Bernard (

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