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13 décembre 2019

Neuro-inspired macroscale models of epileptic networks for optimization of tCS-induced electric field therapeutic effects

Catégorie : Post-doctorant

Post-doc position offer (ref: INSERM-EFMACRO)

Neuro-inspired macroscale models of epileptic networks for optimization of tCS-induced electric field therapeutic effects

Context. Epilepsy refers to a neurological disorder that affects about 1% of the general population.Recent findings indicate that non-invasive brain transcranial current stimulation (tCS) is safe and of therapeutic promise in epilepsy. However, it is not yet indicated as a standard treatment due to major scientific limitations: unknown mechanisms of action, insufficient account for patient-specific factors, poor understanding of short- and long-term effects. The ambition of the GALVANI Project (ERC-SyG 2019; 2020-26) is to transform the care of a large fraction of patients living with drug-resistant epilepsies by solving a fundamental problem: to efficiently target and control large-scale epileptic brain networks with tCS-induced neuromodulatory weak electric fields (https://www.galvani-lab.eu/).

Rationale. The mechanisms underlying immediate (acute) and lasting (short- or long-term) effects of neuromodulation induced by weak electric fields remain mostly elusive. To gain insights into these mechanisms, a new generation of experimentally-validated computational “hybrid” brain models must be developed. These models will combine neurophysiological models of neuronal networks with biophysical models of weak field effects. They will provide a unique framework to clarify the effects of dynamic E-fields induced by stimulation.


Objective. The objective of the proposed research position is to designhybrid neuro-inspired models of large-scale networks and corresponding model parameter identification methods.

Methods. Macroscale computational models will allow for simulation of epileptic activity (HFOs, spikes, low-voltage fast, ictal) generated by large-scale networks, as observed in human epilepsies. They will account for the impact of weak electric fields at neuronal population level: immediate effects (mean membrane potential changes) and lasting effects (neuroplasticity). Optimization methods will be developed for identifying optimal neuromodulation parameters maximizing therapeutic effects (intensity, frequency, waveform, cell types) from human data (SEEG recordings). Models will use the Neural Mass Model formalism (NMMs). They will be developed in C and/or Python. They will extend already-existing models at neural mass level. Strong background is available (https://perso.univ-rennes1.fr/fabrice.wendling/).

Scientific environment. GALVANI involves three partners: LTSI-Inserm (Rennes), AMU-APHM (Marseille) and Neuroelectrics (Barcelona). It is intended to develop the next generation of brain stimulation solutions. GALVANI can be viewed as a distributed lab (Rennes-Barcelona-Marseille) working under a common policy to ensure coherence of research and intense collaboration and cross-fertilization. Fellows will be co-supervised in a unique, shared environment with exposure to science, technology and clinical experience.

Candidate profile. The research project is at the interface between biomathematics (neuro-inspired models), biophysics (electric field models), and neuroscience/neurology (epilepsy). The Post-doc fellow (PhD+experience) will preferably have a strong background in computational neuroscience/systems biology or in electrical engineering with experience in bio-signal processing. Knowledge in electrophysiology and/or EEG analysis would be an asset. The post-doc fellow will join a multidisciplinary team including research scientists in biomedical engineering, neurophysiological modeling, bio-physics, signal processing, electrophysiology, neurology.

Contract . The position will be opened March. 1st, 2020. The contract is for 3 years with possible extension (1 year). The competitive salary will be according to experience (2600 Euros net, minimum). The candidate will also have access to the French system benefits.

Locationin the city of Rennes, France. LTSI-Inserm laboratory, University of Rennes. In addition, the post-doc fellow will have the opportunity to perform visits and to actively collaborate with engineers, researchers and clinicians of the Marseille & Barcelona groups.

Contact(please provide resume, cover letter and email of 2 references)

Fabrice Wendling (DR Inserm, LTSI, France) Email: fabrice.wendling@inserm.fr


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