Doctoral Training in Optical Neurophysiology

Closing Date
1 Oct 2020
Funded (UK/European students only)
London (Imperial College London)

Project Description

The Optical Neurophysiology Laboratory, lead by Dr. Amanda Foust, is looking for a talented motivated PhD student, interested in working in the field of optical neurophysiology, to engineer solutions at the interface of neuroscience, optics, hardware, software, and molecules, generating powerful new instruments to unlock the mysteries of live neuronal networks. The ideal candidate has a strong background in electrical/electronic, computer, optical or genetic/molecular engineering, or optical physics, coupled with a strong interest in cross-disciplinary synthesis and in brain function at the neuronal network level.

-----------------Research topic:----------------
Optical control and readout of neuronal networks has the potential to revolutionise our understanding of how communication between neurons gives rise to our senses, perceptions, thoughts, emotions and actions. Geneticists over the past 15 years have developed molecules that, when ectopically expressed in neurons, can actuate or silence neurons with light, and can report changes in membrane potential and calcium concentration through changes in their optical properties. These tools, combined with rapidly evolving optical technologies, can enable science fiction-scale progress to understanding live neuronal network function through optical manipulation and readout of neuronal activity.

----------------- The lab:-------------------------
The aim our research is to engineer bridges between cutting-edge optical technologies, optogenetic tools, and neuroscientists to acquire new, groundbreaking data on how brain circuits wire, process, and store information. We take an engineering approach to selection, adaptation, integration and optimization of technologies to enable neurophysiology experiments that were previously impossible. These technologies include computer-generated holography, calcium and membrane potential imaging, and non-linear optics. Our students receive intensive training in cross-disciplinary dialogue, experimental design and implementation, scientific writing, publication (early and often!) and presentation.

Our laboratory is part of the Department of Bioengineering, which conducts state-of-the-art multidisciplinary research in biomechanics, neuroscience and neurotechnology. The lab is at Imperial College London, the 3rd ranked university in Europe, is in the top 10 worldwide, and is located in the city centre of London.
More information can be found at:

----------------- How to apply:-----------------
Candidates should send a single pdf file, consisting of a 1-page motivation letter and CV to In addition, candidates should organize two letters of reference to be sent to

Further Information

The successful candidate will complete a PhD in the Bioengineering Doctoral Training Programme. The 36-month position covers fees (£4,327pa for 2019-20) and a stipend (£17,009pa for 2019-20) for students with Home fees status (View Website). The position can start on any of the first working Mondays of January, April, July and October 2020, and is open until filled. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis, so it is advisable to apply early.