We are looking for a Ph.D. candidate at the Computational Neuroscience lab of Prof. Gustavo Deco, at the Pompeu Fabra University. We would be glad if you could help us disseminate the announcement among potential candidates.

The project involves the study of perturbative effects on whole-brain network models and therefore we are looking for excellent and motivated candidates with a technical background (physics, mathematics, engineering), specially in complex and dynamical systems. Basic background on neuroscience or brain/neural dynamics is also recommended. See project description below.

The project comes with an FPI scholarship from the spanish ministry of science and innovation, starting approx. May 2021. Submission closes on October 27th at 14:00 (CET). Please see instruction below. If you need further assistance please contact <[log in para visualizar]> and include a CV and a preliminary motivation letter, no later than October 22nd so that we have enough time to assist you.

Best regards,

Gorka Zamora-López, PhD
Post-doctoral Research Fellow
Center for Brain and Cognition
Dept. of Information and Communication Technologies
Pompeu Fabra University

Applications are invited for a full-time pre-doctoral position in the Computational Neuroscience Group,  https://www.upf.edu/web/cns/gustavo, led by Gustavo Deco, at Pompeu Fabra University (Barcelona), https://www.upf.edu/

We seek excellent and highly motivated candidates with a background in mathematics, physics or engineering.


Reference:  PID2019-105772GB-I00/AEI/10.13039/501100011033

Description: A fundamental problem in neuroscience is how to force a transition from one brain state to another by external driven simulation in, for example, wakefulness, sleep, coma, or neuropsychiatric diseases. This requires a quantitative and robust definition of a brain-state, which has so far proven elusive. Indeed, for example, the study of consciousness is still thought by some to be a hard problem, ultimately not amenable to scientific study. Yet, substantial progress has started to be made using perturbational approaches measuring the effects of direct stimulation to the human brain. Here, we propose to extend this research to identify the functional fingerprints of consciousness,
allowing for direct experimental perturbations to alter and potentially restore consciousness. This will be accomplished through advancing our understanding of the underlying causal mechanisms by constructing whole-brain computational models of multimodal neuroimaging data of the different states of consciousness in health and disease (awake, sleep and anesthesia) in humans and experimental animal models. The modelling of the structural and functional connectivity will be combined with novel, systematic perturbational approaches that have already provided significant new insights into the human brain's ability to integrate and segregate information over time. This approach has the potential to provide functional fingerprinting of conscious states and insights into the underlying necessary and sufficient brain networks as well as their underlying neural mechanisms. More importantly, we propose to use this highly specific new knowledge to directly alter the conscious state in relevant animal models by electrical stimulation of specific brain regions. The whole-brain modeling approach, permits the systematic study in silico of how simulated brain stimulation can force transitions between different brain states. Given the biophysical limitations of direct electrical stimulation (DES) of microcircuits, this opens exciting possibilities for discovering stimulation targets and selecting connectivity patterns that can ensure propagation of DES induced neural excitation, potentially making it possible to create awakenings from complex cases of brain injury. Furthermore, we will study also the possibility of predicting the results of TMS stimulation on humans (Stroke and Neuropsychiatric diseases). As such this research may provide new therapeutical interventions for disorders of consciousness in humans.
How to apply: 
The official application will be made through the MICINN predoctoral contract scholarship program (FPI). Candidates should check the eligibility requirements, rules and documentation at: 

The call closes on October 27th at 14.00. 

In addition to the Spanish MICINN eligibility requirements, candidates must be eligible to be admitted to a UPF Doctoral School. See https://www.upf.edu/web/doctorats/biomedicina

Scholarship details:
The position will be funded for three years + optional fourth. Starting date: May 2021 (approx.). Salary (before tax): 17,785 euros per year for each year (19,000 euros if the fourth year is postdoctoral; e.g., in the event that the thesis is defended in the third year).

All eligible candidates are encouraged to apply directly through the Spanish MICINN online application system , following the instructions in the "GUÍA DEL SOLICITANTE AYUDAS PARA CONTRATOS PREDOCTORALES PARA LA FORMACIÓN DE DOCTORES" document.  You must apply before the deadline of October 27th at 14.00. 

If you have questions, you may email [log in para visualizar] with subject: CNSFPI20. Include your CV, letter of motivation and reference letters and email us before Oct 22. Again, please note the official application is through the Spanish MICINN online system.