New PhD OPEN POSITION

Project Title: The mechanisms of Working Memory: from neuronal circuits to synapses.

Keywords: working memory, neural activity, cortical micro-circuit, NMDA receptors, calcium imaging, animal behaviour, quantitative data analysis

Project description: This is a unique opportunity for a strongly motivated candidate interested in studying the mechanisms, from synapses to neuronal circuits, underling Working Memory, the cognitive ability to maintain information in the brain during brief periods of time. The candidate will develop an animal model to test the retention of a parametric stimulus in Working Memory. The behaviour will be combined with a cutting-edge large-field calcium imaging technology to simultaneously monitor the activity of large number of individual neurons distributed over several cortical areas. Using our recently established reversible antibody-mediated disruption of NMDA receptor function in mice (Planagumà et al 2015) we will characterize at the behavioural and neural circuit levels, the largely debated role of the NMDA receptor in Working Memory. The candidate will perform quantitative analyses of large data sets using methods from modern statistical analysis and machine learning.

The project will be developed within a collaboration between several investigators in IDIBAPS (Barcelona): Josep Dalmau, MD, PhD, Pablo Jercog PhD, Albert Compte PhD and Jaime de la Rocha PhD. Together, these labs have a strong publication record investigating the neural circuit basis of Working Memory and synaptic receptor mediated autoimmune brain pathologies, and they have extended experience in Calcium imaging, electro-physiology, analysis of behavioural/neuronal data sets and computational modelling. The project is supported by CELLEX foundation and the European Research Council, and will be developed at IDIBAPS, a public biomedical research institute whose mission is to encourage Systems Neuroscience, translational research, and technological progress in the field of Biomedicine. The candidate will enrol in the Biomedicine PhD program of the University of Barcelona.

Candidate profile: Candidates with a very good track record in their undergraduate degree (e.g. biology, physics or psychology), a Master’s in a neuroscience-related discipline and with an interest in cognition, in vivo neuronal imaging, and advanced data analysis techniques are encouraged to apply. Candidates with good oral and written skills in English will be given preference. Previous experience with Calcium imaging, training of rodents or programming (Matlab, Python, etc.) will be highly valued.

Please send CV, a brief statement of career goals and the name of 1-2 referees to: jrochav [at] clinic.cat. Candidates will be evaluated starting in March 15th 2016 and until the position is filled. Estimated starting date: between May and September 2016.

PhD Poisition to study the neural circuit mechanisms of memory.

We are looking a highly qualified and strongly motivated candidate interested in studying how neuronal circuits underlie memory and behavior using state of the art imaging technology applied in health and disease conditions. The project is at the intersection of cognitive neuroscience, molecular imaging, and quantitative analysis of high dimensional data-sets. It implies the use of a mouse model we recently established of antibody-mediated disruption of synaptic function causing alteration of memory formation. The project will investigate the role of “place neurons” and associated circuitry in the generation and retrieval of spatial memories. Using hippocampal implanted mini-microscopes we will perform in vivo calcium imaging of neuronal activity when freely moving mice are forming and retrieving memories in normal and pathological conditions. The plastic changes occurring in the hippocampal circuitry will be characterized from normal conditions to a state of severe anterograde amnesia and back to normal.

The project is supported by CELLEX foundation, and will be developed at IDIBAPS, under the PhD program of Biomedicine of UB. The projected is led by Josep Dalmau, MD, PhD and co-directed by Jaime De la Rocha PhD and Pablo Jercog PhD.  The mission of IDIBAPS is to encourage translational research, innovation, and technological progress in the field of biomedicine

Candidates with a very good track record in their undergraduate degree (e.g. biology, physics or psychology) and a strong interest in a neuroscience related discipline, interested in highly advanced molecular and in vivo neuronal imaging are encouraged to apply. Candidates with good oral and written skills in English will be given preference.

Please send CV and the contact information of 1-2 references to: marodes@clinic.ub.es.  A brief statement of career goals would be of assistance. Candidates will be evaluated starting in March 15th and until the position is filled. Estimated starting date: 09/2015

 

Barcelona Summer School in Theoretical and Computational Neuroscience

The Summer School in Theoretical and Computational Neuroscience is an intensive week-long introduction to computational modeling in the field of neuroscience, for advanced undergraduate (estudiants de grau) and masters students. Computational neuroscience is a growing interdisciplinary field in which mathematicians, physicists, computer scientists and psychologists seek to shed light on the workings of the nervous system through an interplay between modeling and data analysis. We will cover such topics as: single-cell models, network and probabilistic models, models of perception, cognition, learning and memory and computational approaches to studying psychiatric disease. An optional internship in the laboratory of one of the participating instructors is offered to especially motivated students for the week following the main course (14th-19th July).​ To participate, you must apply by May 30, 2014. Accepted students will need to pay a €30 registration fee.

Faculty:
Albert Compte (IDIBAPS)
Gustavo Deco (UPF)
Ruben Moreno‐Bote (FSJD)
Jaime de la Rocha (IDIBAPS)
Alex Roxin (CRM)
Nava Rubin (UPF)

More info here.

Open Positions

We are looking for one PhD student and one Postdoctoral fellow to work in a joint project between the labs of Alex Roxin (Centre de Reserca Matemàtica, CRM) and our lab at IDIBAPS. The projects require the development of network models to investigate spontaneous activity in cortical circuits and the relation between neuronal and behavioral variability. The funding comes from an agreement between La Caixa and the Catalan Government to sponsor a training programme on Collaborative Mathematics presented by the CRM. Several positions are available within the training program which offers other projects. Candidates would be chosen on based on academic merit. Funding for the PhD position lasts 39 months and for the postdoctoral position lasts 3 years. Both positions are supposed to start any time from now until the end of 2014.
The deadline to apply is April 16, 2014.

Information about how to apply and a description of the projects can be found here.

Welcome

Neurons form networks that carry out computations. Sensory circuits in the cortex represent sensory information in a context dependent manner. Thus relevant stimuli for the task at hand, are presumably encoded more accurately than distractors. These cortical circuits are composed of thousands of neurons densely and strongly coupled following connectivity maps that remain mostly unknown. Neural activity in these circuits can exhibit a variety of dynamical spatio-temporal patterns (e.g. oscillations, sustained activity, etc.) which depend largely on the state of the animal (arousal, sleep, anesthesia). We are interested in how sensory neurons are connected to form networks that carry out simple computations involving the representation of incoming sensory inputs. Particularly, we investigate the generation of ongoing activity, its dependence on brain state and its impact on sensory representation. Moreover, we study how top-down signals, such as attention and expectation, are integrated with sensory inputs to give rise to perception and guide decisions. To examine these questions, we use a combination of experimental (population cortical recordings in rats) and computational techniques (analysis of neural network models).