Job ID: 106502

PhD project –Inferring and modelling large scale cortical interactions during comparative decision making in non-human primates

Position: Ph.D. Student

Deadline: 2 April 2023

Employment Start Date: 2 October 2023

Contract Length: 3 years

City: Marseille

Country: France

Institution: Aix Marseille Université

Department: Institut de Neurosciences de la Timone (INT)



The NeuroSchool PhD Program of Aix-Marseille University (France) has launched its annual calls for PhD scholarships for students with a master’s degree in a non-French university.

The following project is one of the 14 proposed projects. Not all proposed projects will be funded, check our website for details.

Frédéric Chavane (head of the Neopto team in the Institut de Neurosciences de la Timone INT, Marseille France), would like to encourage applications for a PhD position with Dr Guilhem Ibos. Candidates should apply to the 2023 PhD scholarship for international students of Marseille’s Neuroschool.

The research group of Guilhem Ibos studies cortical mechanisms of cognitive control in non-human primates (NHP, macaque and marmoset monkeys). We specialize in training NHP to perform sets of cognitive tasks and recording/analyzing extra cellular neuronal activity in large populations of distributed cortical networks. Adapting our behavior to ever changing environment requires to constantly confront sensory representation and internally generated, goal-directed representations of our needs and expectations. For example, when looking for a friend in a crowd, we compare visual representation of each object (extracted within the hierarchy of visual areas) to internally generated representation of our friend. Such behavior engages a large set of cortical and sub cortical areas, and involves several cognitive processes such as working memory and decision making. Our research group aims at understanding how different sources of information are integrated and compared in order to facilitate decision making processes. We recently proposed that a network of cortical areas, including parietal and prefrontal cortices, interact with sensory visual cortex when comparing what we are looking at (sensory information), to what we are looking for (working memory information)(1–4). We recently recorded simultaneously the activity of populations of PFC, V4 and LIP neurons in macaque monkeys.

The goal of the project is composed of 2 complementary approach: 1. Analyzing and modelling the activity of prefrontal, parietal and visual cortical areas interact during comparative decision making. The student will use deep learning approaches to model cortical interactions between each area and predict the impact of cortical inactivation of specific neurons on the state of the rest of the network. 2. Directly test these predictions in vivo during experiments consisting of simultaneous inactivations/recordings in PFC/LIP/V4 networks.

The selected student will fully participate to data acquisition (single and multiple point electrodes in behaving monkeys), analysis (spiking pattern dynamics) and modeling (deep learning).

Candidates should:

  • have notions of cognitive neurosciences and show record of highest grades. Experience in animal research in general and with NHP in particular will be a plus but is not mandatory.
  • have a solid experience in programming (Matlab, Python), statistics and data analysis.
  • be able to collaborate with other students/post docs.

She/he will integrate the NeuroSchool PhD Program of Aix-Marseille Université which organizes post-graduate studies in Neurosciences with theoretical courses and soft skills. Starting date is Fall 2023. For administrative reasons, applications must be addressed to Dr Chavane via the Neuroschool website, but candidates must contact Guilhem Ibos ( who will supervise the project.