2018/04/12 – PhD position – Grenoble

Open position: PhD in cognitive neuroscience

Project title: Dynamic Exploration of neural Circuits Involved during Decision-making

Contract duration: 3 years (~ 1750 € gross per month). Position is open.

Job description: The successful candidate will develop new brain-computer interface method to test the causal contribution of cortical and subcortical intracerebral oscillations during decision-making tasks.

Requested expertise: Computer science & Signal processing / Computational modelling / Knowledge of the Decision-making literature / Neuroimaging and/or Electrophysiology. Excellent analytical skills (MATLAB) are required.

Project scientific summary: Previous studies successfully identified how decision variables were related to specific brain signals by combining computational modelling with a variety of neuroimaging techniques. However, how ongoing brain activity causally influence subject’s ability to switch between tasks remains unknown. To clarify this issue in human, the PhD candidate will record intracerebral EEG signals from pharmaco- resistant patients while they perform a task-switching paradigm. The working hypothesis is that by manipulating the level of baseline brain activity, we will be able to manipulate the subjects’ priors and thus bias their choices. The PhD project will extend recent findings in our group showing that task-switching increased theta (5-10 hz) power in a mesial-prefrontal-subthalamic circuit (Bastin et al., in prep.). The main objectives of the PhD project will be to (1) identify the cortico-subcortical dynamics underlying task-switching by simultaneously recording local field potential recordings from STN and MEG (magneto- encephalography) (2) test the causal contribution of STN theta activity by triggering task-switching events onsets as a function of STN states estimated in real-time through a BCI. A drift diffusion model will be used to further clarify the precise mechanisms mediating task-switching. Overall, this project investigates task-switching under a neuro-computational perspective that is highly innovative.

Host research group: The main goal of the primary host research group (Brain Stimulation & Systems Neuroscience, PI: Olivier David; Phd Advisor: Julien Bastin) is to study large-scale brain networks in order to develop new applications of brain stimulation in the field of psychiatry, movement disorders and epilepsy using a translational approach based on clinical and preclinical research. The PhD fellow will be in constant interaction with other research groups working on decision-making and neuroscience and with the clinical staff that will recruit patients. Very close interactions between experimentalists, methodologists and clinicians, will offer an optimal environment to develop skills of young scientists.

Application procedure : Applicants will attach a single PDF file including:
– Their CV and a cover letter / letter of motivation / name of at least two referees
– A brief summary of previous work done/publications in Master will be included in the cover letter
– A record of the grades and relative rank during their Master degree (year 1 and 2 separately)

Contact: Dr Julien Bastin, Assistant Professor, UGA, julien.bastin@univ-grenoble-alpes.fr

Bastin, J., Polosan, M., Benis, D., Goetz, L., Bhattacharjee, M., Piallat, B., Krainik, A., Bougerol, T., Chabardès, S., and David, O. (2014). Inhibitory control and error monitoring by human subthalamic neurons. Transl. Psychiatry 4, e439.
Bastin, J., Deman, P., David, O., Gueguen, M., Benis, D., Minotti, L., Hoffman, D., Combrisson, E., Kujala, J., Perrone-Bertolotti, M., et al. (2017). Direct Recordings from Human Anterior Insula Reveal its Leading Role within the Error-Monitoring Network. Cereb. Cortex 27, 1545–1557.
Corlier, J., Rimsky-Robert, D., Valderrama, M., Lehongre, K., Adam, C., Clémenceau, S., Charpier, S., Bastin, J., Kahane, P., Lachaux, J.-P., et al. (2016). Self-induced intracerebral gamma oscillations in the human cortex. Brain 139, 3084–3091.