Research Assistant (with MPhil/PhD enrolment)

  • Full Time
  • Overseas
  • London
  • Salary: £0 - £0


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University College London

About us We are seeking a PhD student who will be paid as a full time research assistant to work on a project entitled “How does the brain map sounds ... Role: Research Assistant (with MPhil/PhD enrolment), Category: Financial Services

Research Assistant (with MPhil/PhD enrolment): University College London

About us We are seeking a PhD student who will be paid as a full time research assistant to work on a project entitled “How does the brain map sounds into the world”. This project aims to understand how the brain constructs a representation of auditory space, through mapping sensory strategies and neural activity in freely moving animals as they navigate based on sound. Unlike vision, where an objects position in space is explicitly mapped onto the retina, sound source location must be computed by using cues that arise from the separation of our two ears on the head. Currently our understanding of how the brain constructs auditory space is limited by almost all previous studies being performed in animals (or humans) with their head held in a fixed location at the center of a speaker ring. In this scenario, neurons in auditory cortex are generally broadly tuned to contralateral space. A handful of studies have been performed in freely moving animals have revealed that some neurons appear to encode the position of a sound source independently of the position of the listener. To date, all studies of auditory spatial processing have involved animals moving around an arena around which speakers are located. We have built a large arena with many speakers placed under an acoustically transparent floor for the first time allowing animals to navigate amongst sound sources. In this project we will train animals to navigate based on the position of sounds and ask what sensory strategies they use to locate and approach both static and moving sound sources. We will seek to understand how single neurons integrate sensory, motor and positional information to construct auditory space. The PhD student will define the head and eye movements that animals employ when “hunting” sounds. This will involve developing hardware and software to collect and analyse the resulting data and ultimately develop automated analysis pipelines to combine with electrophysiological recordings. The student will join a team of post-doctoral and doctoral researchers working on this research program

About the role • Continue development to automated data analysis including image processing, and analysis of audio signals.

  • Collect experimental data with an animal model while maintaining the highest standards of animal welfare and being willing to work out of hours when required (e.g. for post-operative care of animals).
  • Work in collaboration with other researchers as part of a team
  • Prepare progress reports and presentations

About you • A good degree (2.1 or above; or equivalent EU/overseas degree) and/or MSc Neuroscience, Biomedical Engineering or Physiology

  • Demonstrable interest in sensory systems research
  • Strong programming skills in either python and/or matlab and experience of signal processing, device control and image processing
  • High proficiency in written and spoken English is required

This role meets the eligibility requirements for a skilled worker certificate of sponsorship or a global talent visa under UK Visas and Immigration legislation. Therefore, UCL welcomes applications from international applicants who require a visa.

What we offer As well as the exciting opportunities this role presents, we also offer some great benefits some of which are below: • 41 Days holiday (27 days annual leave 8 bank holiday and 6 closure days) • Additional 5 days’ annual leave purchase scheme • Defined benefit career average revalued earnings pension scheme (CARE) • Cycle to work scheme and season ticket loan • Immigration loan • Relocation scheme for certain posts • On-Site nursery • On-site gym • Enhanced maternity, paternity and adoption pay • Employee assistance programme: Staff Support Service • Discounted medical insurance Visit https://www.ucl.ac.uk/work-at-ucl/reward-and-benefits to find out more.

Our commitment to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion As London’s Global University, we know diversity fosters creativity and innovation, and we want our community to represent the diversity of the world’s talent. We are committed to equality of opportunity, to being fair and inclusive, and to being a place where we all belong. We therefore particularly encourage applications from candidates who are likely to be underrepresented in UCL’s workforce. These include people from Black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds; disabled people; LGBTQI+ people; and for our Grade 9 and 10 roles, women. Athena Swan Status Statements Our department holds an Athena SWAN Silver award, in recognition of our commitment and demonstrable impact in advancing gender equality. You can read more about our commitment to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion here : https://www.ucl.ac.uk/equality-diversity-inclusion/

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