[FieldTrip] PhD Opening on large-scale dynamics of functional networks and information routing (@Aix-Marseille University)

Andrea Brovelli andrea.brovelli at univ-amu.fr
Mon Dec 9 21:36:57 CET 2019

We are recruiting one PhD fellow at the Institute for Systems 
Neuroscience at Aix-Marseille University. The student will work within 
Dr. Demian Battaglia’s group (theoretical neuroscientist), in strict 
interaction with other researchers at Aix-Marseille University (Andrea 
Brovelli, systems and cognitive neuroscientist; Alain Barrat, complex 
networks physicist), as well as Strasbourg University.

The project will delve with the analysis of multi-frequency dynamic 
brain networks in large-scale electrophysiological recordings.

Brain regions interact between them in a highly dynamic manner even to 
perform very simple tasks, preventing too simplistic attempts of 
description. Flexibly changing patterns of information exchange and 
integration can be tracked using novel information theoretical and 
time-series analyses tools and generating directed multi-layer temporal 
networks representations of the data. In the framework of this project, 
a variety of different large-scale electrophysiological datasets (from 
rodents to non-human primates and humans) will be characterized based on 
complex network analyses tools that, initially forged in statistical 
physics, have not yet been adapted to be compliant with neural datasets, 
although they provide a natural language to describe the complex “life” 
of cell assemblies and transiently integrated coalitions of brain 
regions. The PhD fellow will characterize how spatio-spectro-temporal 
network patterns correlate or predict behavior and cognitive performance 
(e.g. in working memory or spatial navigation tasks) and, potentially, 
how these patterns are altered in specific animal pathology models (AD, 

Network analyses of empirical data may be complemented by the design of 
connectome-based computational models of multi-scale oscillations, to 
reverse engineer physiological mechanisms (e.g. alterations of 
excitability) that may underpin generalized functional connectivity 
changes, in control or pathological conditions.

This project is one of the “ESR” (Early Stage Researcher) positions 
opening within the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network 
(ITN) project “i-Conn” funded by the European Commission, under their 
H2020 program. Such prestige program offers ideal conditions to the 
successful candidate such as: a salary well superior to the national 
average of ~1.9k euros monthly (plus family allowance when applies), net 
after taxes, with full social security coverage; and generous grant 
money for training and traveling to conferences. Through the ITN project 
activities, the PhD fellow will have the opportunity to come in contact 
with leading research groups in the UK, Germany, Czech Republic, Austria 
and Cyprus adopting network science techniques in a wide variety of 
disciplines, including neuroscience, but also socio-economics, 
geography, astronomy, etc.

At Aix-Marseille University, the PhD fellow will integrate the 
second-largest neuroscience community in France in a dynamic university 
with an emphasis on interdisciplinary approaches. The PhD fellow will 
profit of the high-level training opportunities provided by the local 
“NeuroSchool” (https://neuro-marseille.org/en), an excellence PhD 
program in clinical and integrative neuroscience, as well as by 
convergence institutes as the Turing Center for Living Systems 
(http://centuri-livingsystems.org). In addition, Marseille is a vibrant 
multi-cultural city located in the beautiful natural and cultural 
context of Southern France, at a few hours only by direct high-speed 
train from European cities as Paris, Barcelona, Brussels or Frankfurt.

We seek for candidates with computational neuroscience, physics or 
computer science/machine learning background (ideally but not 
necessarily). The most important prerequisite is the willingness and 
skill to explore large-scale datasets with advanced information theory 
and network science tools. Previous experience in programming, 
computational modeling or network analyses is a plus. The working and 
training language is English.

IMPORTANT! some strict requirements apply to be eligible as an Early 
Stage Researcher funded by the Marie Skłodowska-Curie program:

  1) The applicant should have — at the date of recruitment — less than 
4 years of a research career, and not have a doctoral degree. The 4 
years are measured from the date when they obtained the degree which 
would formally entitle them to embark on a PhD, either in the country 
where the degree was obtained or in the country where the PhD is provided.

  2) *Trans-national mobility*: The applicant — at the date of 
recruitment— should not have resided in France, where the research 
training takes place, for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately 
prior to recruitment, and not have carried out their main activity (work 
,studies, etc.) in France.

To register your interest in applying for this position please, and to 
ask for any further information, please contact 
demian.battaglia at univ-amu.fr. To apply for this position, we require a 
copy of your CV, degree transcripts, motivation letter and the names 
and/or recommendation letters of 2 referees. Please include your master 
thesis as well and any publication you authored (included manuscripts at 
preprint or sufficiently advanced draft stages).

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