Rutherford Fellowships in Neurotechnology

Imperial College London and The University of Melbourne are pleased to announce that three postdoctoral fellows will be supported to spend a research visit of one year each (from 1st April 2018) in London. Fellows coming from The University of Melbourne will be hosted by laboratories associated with the Centre for Neurotechnology at Imperial College London.

Applicants must hold a PhD in either engineering, neuroscience, or a similar discipline, with 0-10 years of postdoctoral experience. A non-taxable stipend of UK £26,400 will be provided to fellows under the scheme in addition to relocation costs and a contribution to research expenses in the host laboratory. See note 1 below for additional information on eligibility.


Several example projects are described below. Potential applicants are advised to contact the PIs at the respective contact emails below to discuss projects. Additional project ideas will be considered, provided they meet the scheme remit: to fund work at the interface between neuroscience and engineering, with potential to lead to new collaborations between Melbourne and Imperial.

Robotic two-photon targeted in vivo patch clamp electrophysiology.

Researchers at Imperial recently developed technology for robotically automated two-photon targeted patch clamp electrophysiology (Annecchino et al, Neuron 95(5):1048, 2017). There is now an opportunity to further develop the technology – for instance, by adding the capacity to patch multiple neurons simultaneously, which allows a number of questions to be addressed for the first time, such as the role of electrical and chemical synaptic transmission between interneurons in coordinating information processing in vivo. PI: Simon Schultz (contact s.schultz@imperial.ac.uk)


How dementia affects brain circuitry: multiphoton calcium imaging in awake behaving mice.

This project involves performing two photon calcium imaging of hippocampal neural activity in mouse models of neurodegenerative disorders, while mice perform a spatial memory task. The Fellow would join a small team performing imaging experiments, and developing new analysis tools to process the resulting imaging data. Projects could focus on either experimental aspects (neuroimaging) or computational aspects (developing and applying information theoretic tools for analysis of the two photon imaging data). PI: Simon Schultz (contact s.schultz@imperial.ac.uk)


ReBooT: Restoring Brain Operation with Technology.

An open source instrument/modality for exploring closed-loop neural systems. The project develops an open source research tool for the exploration of neurological disorders. The modality’s hardware and algorithm platforms set a new performance standard for translational recurrent (bi-directional) brain-computer-interface technology architectures. Technical subsystems are currently designed to facilitate the identification and preclinical evaluation of potential biomarkers, classifiers, and control methods using advanced neuromodulation methods. The research tool is being designed as a general instrument (PhD sponsored by Medtronic); however, evaluation testbeds focus on improving treatment of Essential Tremor and Parkinson’s disease. Scope: the tool will be used on studies where implanted leads are exposed for standard trials, where in partnership with clinician researchers, novel closed-loop systems can be developed and validated in a controlled setting. Ultimate goal: to apply this tool to design, develop, and translate therapeutic neural control systems to the clinic. Focus of the Fellowship: modality assembly along with fusion and analysis of acquired neurophysiological Tremor/Parkinson’s data. PIs: E.M.Drakakis (Imperial), Tim Denison (Medtronic), Peter Brown (Oxford) (contact e.drakakis@imperial.ac.uk)

Innovative conductive polymers for neural tissue interfacing.

The Stevens Group has established elegant chemical protocols in developing well-defined conductive oligomeric components with excellent potential in conductive tissue engineering applications (Spicer et al, Chem 2(1):125, 2017), for cardiac, muscle or neural tissues. Within these collaborations, these building blocks will create powerful constructs that interface with neural cells to maintain their physiology, optimise their performance, and direct their differentiation (e.g. for hiPSC neural progenitors). Our team uses unique and multidisciplinary strategies that will be exploited towards the end-goal of establishing a materials-based tool in neural tissue engineering. PI: Molly Stevens (contact b.pierce@imperial.ac.uk)

Please contact Dr Kate Hobson (Centre for Neurotechnology Manager, k.hobson@imperial.ac.uk) for further information on the scheme. To apply, send a CV including the names of two referees to k.hobson@imperial.ac.uk by Fri 9th March.

Notes
1. Fellows recruited must be PhD holders with 0-10 years postdoctoral experience. Fellows will remain employed by the University of Melbourne throughout the duration of the fellowship, but stipend for this period will be paid at Imperial College.
2. Fellowships should ideally commence on 1st April 2018, but in any case cannot extend beyond 31st March 2019.