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Two PhD Scholarship Positions in Non-invasive Brain Stimulation Combined with Optogenetics and Functional Mri in Animal and Human Brain Circuits

ETH Zurich is pleased to invite applicants to apply for a new opening PhD position in computer science. The funds for this position are available for three years. Applicants should apply as soon as possible.

The Department of Health Sciences and Technologies (D-HEST) at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH) strongly focuses on the transfer of basic research knowledge to health-related and clinical applications. The D-HEST decision making and neuroscience laboratories are equipped with a cutting-edge computational infrastructure, neuroimaging, behavioral and neuromodulation laboratories in both animal and human research. Applications are invited for Two PhD student positions in 'non-invasive brain stimulation combined with optogenetics and functional MRI in animal and human brain circuits'

The successful candidates will work with Prof. Rafael Polania and Dr. Valerio Zerbi on cutting-edge methods and procedures of neuromodulation and neuroimaging in both animals and humans to assess fundamental questions related to brain-behavior interactions. We will develop and apply novel non-invasive brain stimulation protocols (e.g. tACS, Temporal Interference) and optogenetic approaches combined with MRI techniques for the analysis of functional and structural connectivity of the mouse brain. Planned studies will utilize electrophysiology, fiber photometry, fluorescence-based calcium recordings, MR imaging, stereotactic brain surgeries, non-invasive brain stimulation, optogenetics and microscopy. We will test non-invasive brain stimulation protocols that have been optimized (in animals) in humans via concurrent application of non-invasive brain stimulation and fMRI during behavioral tasks. This will allow to test whether the brain circuit modulations observed in mice also occur in humans alongside related behavioral changes. If successful, this project will allow us to establish new technologies that selectively up- and down-regulate specific aspects of brain function and its related behavior in both species. Employment will begin in April 2019 and last three years.

PhD candidate #1 should have, or soon have, a good master's degree in the fields of neurobiology, biophysics, biomedical engineering, or a related field. Candidates must be highly motivated to perform innovative large scale behavioral and neural imaging studies and be able to work with animal models (FELASA C or equivalent). The ideal candidate will have previous experience with non-invasive brain stimulation, optogenetics, and/or other deep-brain neurostimulation methods combined with electrophysiological/optical recordings, and a background in MR imaging. Expertise with animal behavioral experiments, image analysis and computational modelling is preferred.

PhD candidate #2 should have, or soon have, a good master's degree with strong background in computational (neuro)sciences and modelling of behavior/cognition in a relevant discipline (e.g., computer science, physics, mathematics). The ideal candidate will have excellent skills in computer programming (e.g. extensive experience with R, Matlab, Python and/or C++ is a big plus) and the use of advanced software for behavioral and brain imaging data analysis (M/EEG, fMRI) is a plus.

Candidates should speak and write English proficiently, and above all, candidates should be enthusiastic about learning new techniques and contributing to new experiments.


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