[FieldTrip] PhD position at Donders Institute

Eric Maris e.maris at psych.ru.nl
Tue Mar 25 12:01:35 CET 2014

The Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour has a vacancy for
a PhD student on the project


Characterizing phase-coupled oscillatory networks in the alpha and the
theta band: their relation to perception and attention, and to individual
differences in cognitive performance


Research Group Neurophysiology of Active Perception

The objective of our research group is to formulate and validate
mechanistic explanations of cognitive phenomena, that is explanations in
terms of their underlying neurophysiological mechanisms. As an integral
part of this objective, our group has an important methodological
component, the characterization of interactions in spatially distributed
neural activity, which is the central topic of this PhD project. 


Project Description

Phase-consistent rhythmic activity is ubiquitous in electrophysiological
recordings, and it may reflect networks of phase-coupled neuronal
populations oscillating at different frequencies. Because neuronal
oscillations may reflect rhythmic modulations of neuronal excitability,
phase-coupled oscillatory networks (PCONs) could be functional building
blocks for routing information through the brain. This project focuses on
PCONs involving brain rhythms that (1) are modulated by selective
attention and working memory, and (2) are correlated with individual
differences in cognitive performance. Using newly developed methods, we
extract PCONs from magneto-encephalography (MEG) data on the basis of the
patterns of phase-consistency induced by these PCONs. These methods
succeed because PCONs can be separated on the basis their frequency
content, the brain areas over which they can be observed, and their
pattern of between-site phase relations. We will test three hypotheses
with respect to the functional role of alpha and theta band PCONs, one
pertaining to their behavioral relevance, one to the mechanism underlying
sustained attention, and one  to their relation with individual
differences in cognitive performance. All hypotheses can be tested using
existing data.


Job Requirements

This project calls for either a cognitive neuroscientist with a strong
interest and skills in data analysis or a person with a computational
background (machine learning, applied statistics, signal processing) with
a strong interest in cognitive neuroscience. We are looking for candidates
with a MSc degree who are highly motivated to conduct research. It is
highly desirable to have extensive experience with a high-level
programming language such as Matlab or Python. The candidate must be
available at 1-10-2014.


Application deadline: 14-7-2014


The Institute

The Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour consists of three
research centres, the Centre for Cognition, the Centre for Cognitive
Neuroimaging and the Centre for Neuroscience. The Donders Institute
focuses on state of the art cognitive neuroscience, in a multidisciplinary
approach, and offers excellent lab and neuroimaging facilities. The
project is embedded within the Donders research theme Brain Networks and
Neuronal Communication (http://www.ru.nl/donders/research/theme-4-brain/)
and will be supervised by dr. Eric Maris at the Donders Centre for
Cognition (DCC). The DCC is part of the Faculty of Social Sciences, one of
the largest faculties at Radboud University Nijmegen. The faculty hosts
high-quality research and study programs that rank among the best in the


Contact Information

Dr. Eric Maris

e.maris at donders.ru.nl



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