[FieldTrip] PhD & post-doc positions: Neuronal basis of human epilepsy (UNIGE, Switzerland)

Pierre Bastien Megevand Pierre.Megevand at unige.ch
Tue Jan 12 19:34:21 CET 2021

Neuronal basis of human epilepsy: PhD student and post-doc positions

PhD student and post-doctoral fellow positions are opening in May 2021 at the University of Geneva, Switzerland, to study the neuronal basis of epilepsy and cognition using microelectrode recordings in human patients.

Lab and project:
The Human Neuron Lab (@LabNeuron), led by Prof. Pierre Mégevand, is dedicated to advancing the detection and prediction of epileptic seizures. The lab also investigates the neuronal basis of human cognitive brain functions. For that purpose, the lab focuses on invasive neurophysiology in the human brain, including ECoG and stereo-EEG. Additionally, unique microelectrode recordings (using Utah arrays and microwire electrodes) give access to the activity of dozens of single neurons in the patient's brain in order to reveal novel markers of epileptic seizures at the neuronal population level. The lab is equipped with state-of-the-art technology for human invasive neurophysiology. It benefits from the powerful computing infrastructure of the University. Importantly, the lab is fully integrated with the epilepsy monitoring unit of Geneva University Hospitals, and thus boasts exceptional access to patients and recordings.

This project focuses on defining novel markers of seizures in patients who suffer from epilepsy. Continuous intracranial EEG and microelectrode recordings will be acquired for several weeks. Single-unit activity will be tracked over time for multiple neurons. Activity within the neuronal population will be examined for the presence of patterns that are specific to the patient’s seizures. The performance of seizure detection and prediction using microelectrode recordings will be compared to existing algorithms based on intracranial EEG data.

Research tasks:
- Acquire, analyze, and curate a uniquely rich dataset of human intracranial EEG and microelectrode recordings
- Build a pipeline for semi-automated single-neuron identification and tracking
- Establish novel markers of neuronal population activity that identify seizures
- Participate in the mapping of sensory, motor and language functions in epilepsy patients
- Daily interactions with the patients and staff of the epilepsy monitoring unit

- Background in biomedical engineering, signal processing, or neuroscience
- Expertise with analysis of neurophysiological signals, like EEG
- Expertise with microelectrode recordings or intracranial EEG is a plus
- Strong expertise with scientific computing (Matlab, Python)
- Expertise with machine learning is a plus
- Working proficiency in English (oral and written) is essential
- Conversational knowledge of French must be acquired if not yet mastered
- Ability to work independently

Work environment:
The University of Geneva is a prestigious research hub in neuroscience, federating many labs that cover the full spectrum from basic to cognitive, translational and clinical research. The neuroscience community in Geneva is also strengthened by rich collaborations with other research institutions, including Campus Biotech, the Wyss Center, and the EPFL.

This project is fully funded by a grant from the Swiss National Science Foundation. The PhD and post-doc positions are open for up to 4 years each. Swiss salaries are very attractive in international comparison.

The positions will open from May 2021 onwards. Please send your application, including a letter of intent, curriculum vitae, list of publications, and at least two references, by e-mail to:
Prof. Pierre Mégevand
Division of neurology, Geneva University Hospitals
Rue Gabrielle-Perret-Gentil 4, 1205 Geneva, Switzerland
pierre.megevand at unige.ch
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