University of Plymouth, Centre for Theoretical and Computational Neuroscience

A postdoctoral Research Assistant is required for a 3 year BBSRC funded project in the Research Group of Prof Roman Borisyuk, Centre for Theoretical and Computational Neuroscience at the University of Plymouth, UK.
The appointed person should have education at PhD level in computer science (or similar disciplines), a strong background in software engineering and excellent programming skills. Experience in software development and especially visualization techniques is essential. Knowledge of mathematics and computational neuroscience will be a great advantage.
The project will investigate whether simple developmental rules allow neuronal circuits in the early vertebrate nervous system to self-assemble and control motor behaviour. Recent work on the young Xenopus tadpole has defined the features, connections and activity patterns of the major neuron groups controlling both swimming and struggling locomotion. This knowledge offers a unique opportunity in a vertebrate to investigate the anatomical and functional development of defined neuronal networks where the details of both input and output signals are known. Project work will involve interaction with two other postdocs in the Xenopus Neurobiology Research Group of Prof Alan Roberts and Dr Steve Soffe at the University of Bristol, one using whole-cell patch recording techniques to define the roles of anatomically identified neurons in the initiation of motor responses, and the second analysing neuron morphology and modelling anatomical development and network function.
The successful applicant will be responsible for development of new, biologically realistic models of both anatomy of neuronal circuitry and functional neuronal processes relevant to tadpole behaviour. Model development will include mathematical formulation, design of numerical algorithms and software, model simulation, analysing and reporting simulation results, discussion of results and model adjustment etc. with biological partners in Bristol. Visualization of the simulation results and programming a virtual tadpole will be a significant part of the workload. The assistant will also collaborate with Bristol in detailed physiological model simulation.
This position is available for up to 3 years from April 2009 or as soon as possible thereafter. Salary is dependent on experience but will be in the range of £30,594 – to £32,458.
Informal enquiries are also welcome via e-mail (rborisyuk(at)plymouth(dot)ac(dot)uk)
Applications should be made to the University of Plymouth before the closing date of 11th February 2009
Recent publications relevant to the project:
Borisyuk R., Cooke T., Roberts A. (2008) Stochasticity and functionality of neural systems: Mathematical modelling of axon growth in the spinal cord of tadpole. BioSystems, 93:101-114
Li W.-C., Cooke T., Sautois B., Soffe S., Borisyuk R. and Roberts A. (2007) Axon and dendrite geography predict the specificity of synaptic connections in a functioning spinal cord network. Neural Development, 2:17

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