Job ID: 106959

Neural circuit mechanisms for cognitive processes

Position: Ph.D. Student

Deadline: 23 April 2023

Employment Start Date: 6 November 2023

Contract Length: 4 years

City: Rovereto

Country: Italy

Institution: Italian Institute of Technology

Department: Center for Neuroscience and Cognitive Systems


We are seeking candidates for a fully-funded four-year Ph.D. position at Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) in Rovereto, in the Systems Neurobiology Research Line led by Dr. Giuliano Iurilli. The position’s starting date is November 2023. The Ph.D. student will be enrolled in the Doctoral Program in Cognitive and Brain Science of the CIMeC-University of Trento

The Systems Neurobiology Laboratory uses neurophysiological, behavioral, and computational approaches – all applied to discover the algorithms used by the nervous system to solve problems that are crucial for the survival of an animal. For an overview of the lab interests and publications, see–T9VH8AAAAJ&hl=it. The laboratory, based at IIT in Rovereto, comprises an international team of researchers with complementary expertise from computational neurobiology to cognitive science.

The Ph.D. project will focus on one of the main research topics in the lab, depending on the candidate’s skills and preferences. These topics include the investigation of how the nervous system

  • Disentangles sensory inputs from the consequences of sense organ movements
  • Sets an appropriate learning rate based on the animal’s behavioral state
  • Selects an appropriate consummatory or defensive action based on the position of the stimulus and the animal’s motivational state

The successful applicant will receive training and utilize the laboratory’s fully equipped state-of-the-art technology to combine behavioral and physiological recordings and brain stimulation in both controlled and ecological environments. The techniques available in the lab include the following:

  • In vivo two-photon imaging
  • Wide-field cortical imaging
  • Miniscope imaging of freely moving mice
  • Fiber photometry
  • Neuropixels acute and chronic recordings
  • In vivo patch-clamp recordings
  • Optogenetics
  • Viral strategies for circuit tracing
  • Machine-learning-assisted behavioral analysis

The candidate should have completed their Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in either biological or numerate sciences, such as biology, pharmacology, psychology, neuroscience, computer science, physics, or artificial intelligence. They should have a propensity for interdisciplinary research. Strong analytical skills and coding abilities (e.g., Matlab, Python) are desirable. The ideal candidate should be independent, proactive, and suited for collaborative work in a team with senior and junior collaborators, as well as interaction with other groups in international networks.

Prospective students are invited to contact