Research Associate

Imperial College London

Job description
Job summary

This post forms part of an interdisciplinary collaborative research project, “Statistical Physics of Cognition” funded by the UKRI and Wellcome. The aim of the project is to understand how neuronal avalanches relate to cognition. The postholders will be part of an interdisciplinary team including theorists, experimental neuroscientists and optical physicists aiming to solve this problem. The approach taken will be to perform large-scale neuronal imaging experiments to record the activity of thousands of neurons in the brains of mice performing cognitive tasks, to use advanced methods to analyse how distance from criticality is task-dependent, to develop models describing the role of avalanche dynamics in cognition, and to use graph theory, information theory and complexity theory to advance our understanding how large-scale network dynamics affect cognitive performance. As well as advancing our understanding of the way the brain operates, this may lead to new insights into how neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s Disease cause degradation in cognitive function, and aid in the development of future treatments.

Duties and responsibilities

Based in the Neural Coding and Neurodegenerative Disorders Laboratory led by Prof Simon Schultz, we are seeking one postdoctoral fellow to carry out neuroscience experiments involving two-photon imaging of neural activity from thousands of neurons in behaving mice.

Applications should have research experience in mouse behaviour, histology and ex vivo fluorescence microscopy. A PhD in neuroscience, physics, or a cognate discipline is essential.

Post – Mouse behaviour. You will have expertise in systems neuroscience, including experience in mouse behaviour, ex vivo imaging and data analysis techniques including the use of graph theory.

You will be based in the Neural Coding and Neurodegenerative Disease Laboratory led by Prof Simon Schultz and Dr Amanda Foust, in the Department of Bioengineering at Imperial College London. As well as members of the group, you will work closely with colleagues in the Department of Mathematics, including Prof Mauricio Barahona and Prof Henrik Jensen, as well as two theoretical postdoctoral fellows working as part of the collaborative project. You will also work together with external collaborators, including particularly Dr Fernando Rosas (University of Sussex) and Prof Lucilla De Arcangelis (University of Campania).

Essential requirements

You will jointly lead research aimed at understanding how neuronal avalanches and other large scale neurodynamical phenomena relate to cognition.

You will be responsible for carrying out in vivo and ex vivo neuroimaging experiments using a two-photon microscope or two-photon mesoscope, in mice performing cognitive tasks such as a spatial working memory task. Additional responsibilities will include development of an appropriate analysis pipeline for processing the imaging data, and systematic statistical analysis of the data. Strong experience in a neurophysiological recording technique such as multiphoton microscopy is required, together with experience of programming in Python.

The role will require practical experience with experiments, knowledge of research methods including statistical analysis and experimental design, ability to conduct a detailed review of recent literature, ability to develop and apply new concepts, ability to organise own work with minimal supervision, ability to prioritise own work in response to deadlines, and advanced computer skills. Willingness to work as part of a team and to be open-minded and cooperative is essential.

You will have the opportunity to supervise MEng/MSc/MRes students and to be officially involved in the supervision of PhD candidates through Imperial’s “Assistant supervisor” scheme. Where desired, experiences in other teaching roles, including lecturing, will be enabled as part of the broad range of career development opportunities available for postdoctoral researchers at Imperial College.

Further information

This is a fixed term position to end on 10/12/2023.

Candidates who have not yet been officially awarded their PhD will be appointed as Research Assistant within the salary range £40,694 – £43,888 per annum.

Informal queries relating to the position should be directed to Prof Simon Schultz at [email protected] .

Our preferred method of application is via our website. Please click “APPLY NOW” to go through to the online application form.

Should you have any queries regarding the application process please contact: Yusra Vallimohamed [email protected]

The Department of Bioengineering leads the bioengineering agenda both nationally and internationally, with its staff coming from diverse academic disciplines, including all main branches of engineering, physical sciences, life sciences and medicine, to create a rich collaborative environment. More information about staff benefits, including generous annual leave entitlements and excellent professional development opportunities, can be found here:”>


View or Apply
To help us track our recruitment effort, please indicate in your cover/motivation letter where ( you saw this job posting.