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13 décembre 2019

Neuro-inspired modeling of weak electric field effects on brain microcircuits

Catégorie : Post-doctorant

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

Neuro-inspired modeling of weak electric field effects on brain microcircuits

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 microscale neuro-inspired models and corresponding model parameter identification methods.

Methods. Microscale computational models will allow for simulation of epileptic activity (HFOs, spikes, low-voltage fast, ictal). They will account for the impact of weak electric fields at (sub)cellular level: immediate effects (membrane polarization) and lasting effects (neuroplasticity). Optimization methods will be developed for identifying optimal neuromodulation parameters maximizing therapeutic effects (intensity, frequency, waveform, cell types) from electrophysiological signals (LFPs, depth-EEG). Models will use the Hodgkin & Huxley formalism. They will be developed in C and/or Python. They will extend already-existing models at cellular 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 level) 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.


The position will be opened March. 1st, 2020. The contract is for 3 years. The competitive salary will be according to experience (2300 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 and researchers 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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