Medizinische Hochschule Hannover: open PhD thesis position (ESR 3)

Neural mechanisms of cross-modal plasticity in Hearing Impairment (animal model)

Call for Ph.D. thesis applications: for “Neuronal mechanisms of cross-modal plasticity in hearing impairment“.

RESEARCH FIELD: Neuroscience, Computer science, Bioeingineering

SUPERVISION: Andrej KRAL

APPLICATION DEADLINE: March 15th, 2020

Host Institution: Chair of Auditory Neuroscience, Institute of AudioNeuroTechnology, Medizinische Hochschule Hannover, Germany.

Envisioned start and duration: The funding will cover the 3 years of a PhD (ca. 3171,00 €/month before tax + mobility allowance + family allowance if applicable) in Germany, and start any time in 2020 between February and December.

Job description: Our laboratory is focused on auditory prostheses and brain plasticity. The goal of the project is to understand how transfer of information between two brain areas is dependent on developmental sensory experience and affected by cross-modal takeover in deafness. The applicant will use already recorded data from a unique animal model of inborn deafness stimulated with a neuroprosthetic device and with visual and auditory stimuli. The neuronal activity was recorded using multielectrode arrays from two different cortical fields in hearing and congenitally deaf animals under auditory, visual and somatosensory stimulation.

This position is a part of the multi-laboratory project (Comm4CHILD) received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement No. 860755.

Requested expertise: We look for motivated candidates interested in science and biotechnology. Candidates should have a background in engineering, computer science, physics or mathematics with experience in computer programming and/or signal processing. The laboratory uses MATLAB for data analysis. Motivation, interest, good verbal and written communication skills are other relevant criteria.

Eligibility criteria: Applicants must hold a Master degree or have a university degree equivalent to a European Master’s (5-year duration) at the time when the PhD contract will begin. The applicant must comply the transnational mobility rule of EU ITN projects (i.e. in the last 3 years did not resided or carried the main activity in Germany for more than 12 months).

Applications: Candidates may apply by submitting

  • a motivation letter, a curriculum vitae with present address and contact details
  • a letter of recommendation from previous research supervisor(s)
  • master thesis (if available already)
  • official documents including copy of diploma (if available).

to kral.andrej@mh-hannover.de (PhD supervisor). Please, mention that you are applying to the “DOCTORAL position Comm4CHILD” in the email subject.

Scientific description: Congenital hearing loss deprives the brain from a sensory stimulus and leads to widespread adaptations, including take over of auditory brain resources by visual and somatosensory systems. In previous studies we defined cross-modal reorganization in numerous auditory areas, including the posterior auditory field and dorsal auditory cortex. Also, several critical periods were defined based on chronic cochlear implant stimulation of deaf animals by our team. Recently, we investigated how the critical period and the cross-modal reorganization interdepend. While our current data suggest that corticocortical interactions in response to auditory stimuli are weakened in deaf cats, it remains unclear whether this is counter-regulated by an increase in coupling to visual or somatosensory areas. For this goal we recorded activity in several higher-order auditory areas and visual and somatosensory areas in spontaneous ongoing activity, but also in response to an auditory, visual and somatosensory stimulus. The goal of the applicant is to analyze this activity and describe the responses in time-frequency domain as well as quantifying the coupling between the recorded sites.

Contact details for more information: Andrej Kral, kral.andrej@mh-hannover.de

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Andrej Kral
Medizinische Hochschule Hannover - VIANNA

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