Thursday, March 14, 2019

Brainhack Donostia 2019 - 5th-8th of May 2019, BCBL, San Sebastian

Dear all,

At the Basque Center on Cognition, Brain and Language (BCBL), we are organizing the second edition of Brainhack Donostia (https://brainhackdonostia.pages.bcbl.eu), an event focused on neuroscience and the promotion of open-source resources in an accessible way across disciplines and experience levels. 

This edition will take place on May 5th-8th 2019 at BCBL, where two invited speakers and other scientists from BCBL will give talks and develop hands-on tutorials on data handling from several neuroimaging techniques. In particular, we will cover three techniques: Diffusion-Weighted Imaging (DWI), Magnetoencephalography (MEG) and functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI). To know more about it, you can check the schedule here: https://brainhackdonostia.pages.bcbl.eu/sites/timeline.html 
We are also going to host a hackathon in parallel, in which the attendants can propose, and collaborate on, neuroimaging-related projects (e.g., data acquisition, visualization, etc.). Check the project page for more info: https://brainhackdonostia.pages.bcbl.eu/sites/projects.html 

We encourage you to come and enjoy such an experience with us! Feel free to register here https://brainhackdonostia.pages.bcbl.eu/sites/register.html

For any inquiries, please email us at info.bhg-donostia@bcbl.eu

Looking forward to meet you in May!

BrainHack Donostia Organising Team

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Is there a 'there there' for neuro-'science'? Or will it be engineering? Sunday morning thoughts...


It's Sunday morning in New York, and I really need a break from grant writing... So here a few cranky thoughts from a cranky guy.
 
Is modern neuroscience on the right path – or showing signs of early demise?

Two of the most exciting areas of contemporary science are to understand the structure of the universe and the structure and function of the human brain. The problem, incidentally, turns out to be similar in scope. Our neighborhood galaxy, the Milky Way, is estimated to contain about 100 billion stars. The human brain is estimated to contain about 86 billion neurons. Although different in kind, the scale of these scientific questions suggests that we need experimentation and quantitative analysis over enormous numbers and astonishing complexity.

The galaxy is big - and distant. The brain is small and between our ears. But the brain may be the bigger challenge. Because of the almost perverse connectivity of cells with each other and the extremely rapid processing timescales (milliseconds), understanding how the brain is organized and in which way it forms the basis for everything we do - from regulating are heartbeat to making complex decisions to enjoying music - is clearly one of the most profound challenges for modern science. That is presumably why we like it and do it, no?

As neuroscientists, we celebrate a veritable orgy of successes, suggesting that from molecule to mind, our techniques are steadily illuminating each aspect of brain function. We capitalize on cutting-edge developments, and practically every one of our graduate students is now a literate in big data and deep learning.

This is all wonderful, and keeps us employed. Scratching on the surface however, reveals that there are deep underlying problems – and the acute danger that human brain science may be merely ‘descriptive,’ epistemologically flawed, and perhaps going down a completely dangerous and even sterile path. Indeed, it appears that in the neurosciences, "science" is being replaced by engineering... Provocative papers have begun to point out that this ever growing field is departing from approaches that have been successful, for better or for worse (e.g. Krakauer er al, 2017, Neuron).

The history of science tells us that concepts such as ‘explanation,’ ‘mechanism,’ ‘theory’ lie at the foundation of modern science since the enlightenment. 

Remarkably, contemporary neuroscience has increasingly divorced itself from the standard approaches of the sciences. This may be a good thing and legitimate and ‘epistemologically innovative’ – or it may be catastrophic and lead to the sterility of the neurosciences ... If explanation and mechanism are replaced by concepts such as prediction (“As long as my model predicts with a good fit, I am happy” prominent senior neuroscientist), if understanding is in fact no more than model-based prediction, then this exciting and growing branch of the sciences will have departed from the aims that we typically pursue in the sciences. We will continue to embrace big data - and abandon big theory.

To be sure, nobody argues against having access to large amounts of data. Whether collecting genomes, transcriptomes, connectomes, any-other-kind-of-omes, physiological recordings from hundreds of cells, or brain imaging from tens of thousands of locations, everyone realizes the value of the ever-growing body of data we can measure and analyze. There is very little risk in having more information. Perhaps the marriage of big data and relentless reductionism really is the answer to our questions.

That being said, there is a huge risk in having too few ideas, too few guiding principles, too few (warning: old school concept ahead…) “hypotheses” that provide the intellectual substrate that motivates why we do the work to begin with! And let’s be clear: just saying ”I have a computational model” that underlies my data analysis a theory not makes. In short, we are at a critical juncture in the neurosciences. We will, that goes without saying, continue to adopt the methods associated with big data and deep learning, because they are important expansions of the toolboxes we have to examine these most complex set of phenomena. But if we replace the fundamental, mechanistic, explanatory understanding of biology, brain, cognition, with data-driven correlation, regression, model fitting – when our data have become our theory – will the price be too high?

Examining these ideas -- that is to say engaging in a systematic, sustained, and perhaps countercultural and unpopular reflection on where this most important field is going -- will illuminate whether the next 30 to 50 years in the neurosciences will constitute the success of correlation over explanation, or whether there is a path forwards that recaptures the value of ideas that form the basis of fundamental understanding. With computation, broadly construed, sitting centrally at the issues facing this field, it will be critical to assess (and recommend) whether we should continue to replace scientists with engineers and whether we should abandon the Baconian ideals of how the sciences have worked for the last several hundred years.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

The Basque Center on Cognition Brain and Language – BCBL- (San Sebastián, Basque Country, Spain) is offering a postdoctoral position focused on the neurobiological basis of predictive processing and statistical learning.

The main project will focus on the oscillatory correlates of predictive processing in vision and audition with a special focus on neural entrainment phenomena and top-down control. The project is part of a collaborative research effort of the BCBL with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem funded by the ERC with PIs: Ram Frost (Hebrew U), Craig Richer (BCBL), Nicola Molinaro (BCBL). The expected time frame is one year with a possible extension to another year.

The project is based upon a set of EEG and MEG experiments that will be designed to uncover the neural mechanisms supporting predictive processing – across sensory modalities and cognitive domains. The long-term goal is to evaluate the role that such predictive skills play in second language learning, and how these are implemented neurobiologically.

We are interested in candidates with a high level of independence, familiarity with EEG or MEG, as well as computing tools (Python/Matlab). Candidates should demonstrate a convincing publication record.

The successful candidate will join an interdisciplinary team of researchers studying the cognitive and neural mechanisms underlying statistical learning, predictive processing and language learning, and research will be carried out primarily at the BCBL, with stays at the and Hebrew U.

Deadline: April 15th, 2019.

To submit your application please follow this link: http://www.bcbl.eu/calls, applying for EEG_MEG Postdoc 2019_02 and upload:
1. A curriculum vitae.
2. A cover letter/statement describing your research interests (4000 characters max).
3. Two reference letters submitted directly by the referees through the outline system.

 For more information about the specifics of the position, please contact Ram Frost (ram.frost@mail.huji.ac.il) and/or Craig Richter at the BCBL (craiggrichter@gmail.com).

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Postdoc position available in the O-Lab at Duke University


We are looking for a highly motivated early-career scientist to join the O-Lab, led by Prof. Tobias Overath, in the Department of Psychology & Neuroscience at Duke University. Work in our lab investigates how sounds, from simple sinusoids to complex speech signals, are processed in the human brain, using a combination of behavioral (psychoacoustics) and neuroimaging methods (fMRI, EEG, ECoG) to track the underlying neural processes. Current projects investigate the transformation from acoustic to linguistic analysis of temporal speech structure, online measures of statistical learning, and optimization of cochlear implant coding strategies. 

Applicants should have recently completed a graduate degree in auditory neuroscience (broadly construed) or a related field, ideally using neuroimaging techniques (fMRI, M/EEG, ECoG). Strong computational skills are essential (Matlab, Python), as are good interpersonal skills and the ability to work in a research team. Interested candidates should have established a track record of publications from their graduate studies and demonstrated the motivation to pursue a successful career in science and academia.

Duke University provides a vibrant, highly connected scientific environment, with many relevant departments and interdisciplinary initiatives (e.g. Departments of NeurobiologyBiomedical Engineering,Electrical and Computer EngineeringCenter for Cognitive Neuroscience,Duke Institute for Brain SciencesBrain Imaging and Analysis Center). In addition, the Research Triangle area (Durham, Chapel Hill, Raleigh) boasts a wealth of research initiatives.

Applications will be reviewed until February 15, 2019, or until the position is filled. The prospective start date is August 2019. Interested candidates should contact Tobias Overath informally via email: t.overath@duke.edu

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

PhD scholarship/stipends: Language, Cognition and Brain Sciences Laboratory Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Brisbane, Australia.

Applications are invited for PhD scholarship/stipends for projects with the Language, Cognition and Brain Sciences Laboratory (http://www.langcogbrain.net) at Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Brisbane, Australia.

Research in the lab makes use of a range of methodologies, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), electrophysiology (intracranial and scalp-recorded EEG), transcranial magnetic and direct current stimulation (TMS & tDCS), and behavioural paradigms, in both healthy and neurologically disordered populations. Current projects involve research into the cognitive and neural mechanisms of healthy language production and comprehension, intracranial EEG in candidates for epilepsy surgery, and aphasia following stroke and surgery for brain tumours in children and adults.

Applicants interested in the PhD scholarships should discuss potential projects with Prof Greig de Zubicaray (greig.dezubicaray@qut.edu.au), Assoc Prof Katie McMahon (k21.mcmahon@qut.edu.au)  and Dr Sonia Brownsett (sonia.brownsett@qut.edu.au) before submitting an application. Candidates should have an excellent written and spoken command of English.

How to apply:
Applicants need to apply by 15 February 2019 (AEST).

Eligible applicants will:

  • have completed a postgraduate qualification from the United Kingdom, European Union, Switzerland, Norway, Russian Federation, Canada and United States of America
  • the postgraduate qualification must have been administered and assessed in English and must include a significant research component and thesis (at least 25 percent of the total degree).

Successful scholarship applicants will receive a:

  • living stipend valued at AU$27,596pa in 2019 and indexed annually
  • applicants meeting criteria for academic excellence are eligible for an additional top-up scholarship at AU$5,000pa
  • tuition fees offset or sponsorship
  • research support allowance of AU$4,500
  • opportunity to apply for Grant-in-Aid travel funding up to AU$2,000

For information, please visit: https://www.seek.com.au/job/38102426

Further information:

Please contact our Research Services Office if you have any questions about our courses and scholarships:

phone +61 (0)7 3138 8290 or email health.research@qut.edu.au

Thursday, December 20, 2018

ASSISTANT PROFESSOR IN LANGUAGE NEUROSCIENCE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS HEALTH SCIENCE CENTER AT HOUSTON


As part of our new and expanding Texas Epilepsy Neurotechnologies and Neuroinformatics Institute (TENN), at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth – https://www.uth.edu), we invite applications for an Assistant Professor (tenure-track) position in Language Neuroscience.

We are looking for candidates who are interested in questions regarding language processing in cortical regions using systems-level approaches and/or computational methods. We are especially interested in individuals who currently use or are interested in multimodal integration approaches to the study of language via fMRI, MEG, DTI, brain mapping by direct cortical stimulation and electrocorticography.

This position is part of an initiative at UTHealth focused on expanding expertise in language processing and computation. Collaborations with other language experts within UTHealth as well as with other institutions locally and around the country, will be encouraged.

The successful candidate will be situated in either the Department of Neurosurgery (https://med.uth.edu/neurosurgery) or the Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy (https://med.uth.edu/nba/), and will also be cross-appointed at Rice University.

RESPONSIBILITIES: The successful candidate will be expected to create and sustain an independent research program, including planning, supervising and directing language-based research. This includes the development of study design, data collection, data analysis, results interpretation, manuscript writing and grant proposal preparation. The candidate will have the opportunity to train and supervise undergraduate, graduate and MD/PhD students at UTHealth and Rice University.

QUALIFICATIONS: Candidates must possess a Ph.D. in Cognitive Neuroscience or a related field (post-doctoral experience preferred). A record of verifiable and published research, the potential to obtain extramural, peer-reviewed funding, and excellent teamwork and communication skills are also required.

HOW TO APPLY:  Please write to us with your CV. A formal application will be submitted through UT Health’s online system. As part of the application process, the candidate should provide a cover letter describing qualifications and career goals, a curriculum vita, a research statement, and contact information for three referees and a cover letter describing qualifications and career goals.

SALARY: Highly competitive, dependent upon qualifications and experience. Start-up packages will also be provided.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Post-doctoral position: Sensory-motor interactions in typical speech production and stuttering


 The Laboratory for Speech Physiology and Motor Control (PI Ludo Max, Ph.D.) at the University of Washington (Seattle) announces an open post-doctoral position in the area of sensorimotor interactions in the control of speech movements by typical children and adults as well as individuals who stutter. The lab is located in the University of Washington's Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences and has additional affiliations with the Graduate Program in Neuroscience and the Department of Bioengineering. See http://faculty.washington.edu/ludomax/lab/ for more information.

The successful candidate will use electroencephalography (EEG) to investigate predictive aspects of speech movement planning and motor-to-sensory priming prior to speech initiation. Additional opportunities are available to conduct studies of sensorimotor learning in the same populations of participants.

The position is initially for one year (a second-year extension is possible contingent upon satisfactory performance and productivity) with a preferred starting date in the winter or spring of 2019. Applicants should have the Ph.D. degree by the start of the appointment. Review of applications will begin immediately. Candidates with a Ph.D. degree in neuroscience, cognitive/behavioral neuroscience, motor control/kinesiology, biomedical engineering, communication disorders/speech science, and related fields, are encouraged to apply.

We seek a candidate with excellent verbal and written communication skills who is strongly motivated and has substantial computer programming experience (in particular MATLAB and R).

For more information, please contact lab director Ludo Max, Ph.D. (LudoMax@uw.edu). Applications can be submitted to the same e-mail address. Interested candidates should submit (a) a cover letter describing their research experiences, interests, and goals, (b) a curriculum vitae, (c) the names and contact information of three individuals who can serve as references, and (d) reprints of relevant journal publications.

The University of Washington is an affirmative action and equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to, among other things, race, religion, color, national origin, sex, age, status as protected veterans, or status as qualified individuals with disabilities.