Job ID: 114380

Post-doctoral Behavioural Neuroscientist

Position: Post-doctoral Position

Deadline: 14 August 2023

Employment Start Date: 2 October 2023

Contract Length: 3 years

City: Oxford

Country: United Kingdom

Institution: University of Oxford

Department: Experimental Psychology and Brain and Neural Dynamics Unit

Description:

We are looking to recruit a total of two post-doctoral research associates to develop a project to reveal how cortico-basal ganglia circuits and dopamine coordinate to enable efficient reward pursuit. The project is supported by a new MRC Project Grant and builds on a collaboration between Mark Walton (Experimental Psychology), Andrew Sharott (Brain and Neural Dynamics Unit, BNDU) and Sanjay Manohar (NDCN) in Oxford, and Mercè Correa (Universitat Jaume I).

The posts are both fixed term until September 2026 with a start date of around 01/10/2023 or as soon as possible thereafter.

The project aims to understand how (i) decisions to pursue a distant reward are computed across medial frontal-basal ganglia-dopamine circuits and (ii) why disrupting dopamine within these circuits leads to apathetic behaviour. This will involve multi-site electrophysiological recordings, dopamine photometry, and causal manipulations in rats performing an effort-based cost-benefit decision making task to address how these circuits coordinate during reward pursuit and how network activity changes following pathophysiological disruption of dopamine.

Although both post holders will work together closely on the project, it is anticipated that the team member primarily based Mark Walton’s laboratory will lead on defining how moment-by-moment dopamine signals shape cost-benefit decisions and the team member primarily based in Andrew Sharott’s laboratory will lead on defining frontal-basal ganglia circuit dynamics. Applications for the position in Mark Walton’s lab should be directed here (Vacancy ID: 166517) and in Andrew Sharott’s lab here (Vacancy ID: 166727).

While it is anticipated that both post holders would have experience of running behavioural neuroscience experiments in rodents, there will also be a requirement for expertise in data analysis or theoretical tools in neuroscience for at least one of the posts. Therefore, we would also favourably consider someone with a particularly strong data analysis / theoretical modelling background with less direct hands-on experimental experience.

Informal enquiries about the post can be directed to Mark Walton (mark.walton@psy.ox.ac.uk) or Andrew Sharott (andrew.sharott@bndu.ox.ac.uk).