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Research Assistant/PhD Studentship: Neural Development


A position of Research Assistant/PhD Studentship is available for up to 48 months, from 1 October 2020, to conduct a PhD project jointly in the groups of Dr Matthias Landgraf, Department of Zoology, and Dr Timothy O'Leary, Department of Engineering.

How do nervous systems self-organise to produce fully formed motor behaviour in only a few days?

We are seeking a creative student with a mathematical or engineering background to help us understand the core principles. This is a collaborative project, funded by the Wellcome Trust, that combines mathematical modelling, computation and ideas from AI, robotics and control with cutting-edge experimental methods.

You will work on i) developing a computational model of parts of the locomotor circuitry of Drosophila, grounded in existing data on connectivity and electrophysiology; ii) determining cellular and network parameters that are critical for attaining circuit stability during development; iv) contributing to the verification and extension of the Drosophila locomotor circuitry connectome, as part of an international connectomics collaboration, led by Drs Albert Cardona and Marta Zlatic.

In the Neural Network Development Group (Department of Zoology) we are taking developmental and genetic approaches to study the 'rules' and 'tools' that nature uses to build functioning nervous systems. Dr Timothy O'Leary is part of the Control Group in the Department of Engineering and has a longstanding interest in the design of neural networks, modelling diverse aspects of network development, function and stability.

Detailed descriptions of our research can be found at: https://www.zoo.cam.ac.uk/research/cell-and-developmental-biology/neural-network-development (Landgraf group) and http://www.eng.cam.ac.uk/profiles/tso24 (O'Leary group).

Essential: - Interest in (computational) neuroscience - BSc or equivalent qualification in a relevant field (engineering, mathematics/statistics, physics, computer science) - Mathematical and programming skills (e.g. Matlab, Python, C/C++, R, Perl, Java) - Good communication and interpersonal skills - Ability to organise time and work effectively, independently and responsibly in a research team setting; setting targets and meeting deadlines - PhD in Zoology Graduate Admissions requirements can be found at: https://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/courses/directory/blzopdzoo

Desirable: - Relevant research experience (exposure to experimental neurophysiology, including optical neurophysiology) - Demonstrated record in written and oral communication in relevant subjects - Experience in the development and optimization of statistical and computational approaches - Knowledge of recent literature on modelling approaches in relevant areas of neuroscience

Successful candidate would need to apply for a PhD in Zoology through the University's applicant portal in due course. Any offer of employment would be subject to the successful candidate being accepted onto the PhD program.

Interviews planned for week of 9th December 2019.

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available for up to 48 months.

Click the 'Apply' button below to register an account with our recruitment system (if you have not already) and apply online.

Please quote reference PF21017 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

The University actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society.

The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.

Further information

Apply online