• Employement

PhD Project in Electrophysiology: Closed-loop Transcranial Electric Stimulation of Neural Networks in a Rodent Model of Psychosis Transition

on the July 21, 2020

1 place de L'Hôpital
67000 Strasbourg - France

Patients suffering from schizophrenia develop resistance to chemical treatments. Transcranial electrical stimulation (TES), a non-invasive neurophysiological approach, has been shown to alleviate some symptoms, to improve cognitive performances, and to modulate the corticothalamic connectivity. The goal of the project is to optimize a combination of stimulation parameters that make it efficient for the TES against the psychosis transition using predictive electrical biomarkers.

In healthy humans and rodents, ketamine reproduces, with a single psychotomimetic dose, the abnormal amplification of corticothalamic gamma-frequency (30-80 Hz) oscillations recorded in individuals having a high-risk mental state for a psychosis transition. Gamma oscillations are naturally involved in cognition, which is also disrupted in at-risk patients. It was demonstrated that the ketamine-induced gamma hyperactivity is prevented by the antipsychotic clozapine.

The Ph.D. student will experimentally investigate the TES in the ketamine rodent model of psychosis transition. In an attempt to optimize a combination of stimulation parameters with potential preventive/curative effects, the Ph.D. student will develop and build up a closed-loop feedback system that controls the TES optimally using a Kalman filter.

Requested skills

The ideal candidate will have a strong background in neuroscience, preferably with experience in in-vivo electrophysiological techniques, mathematical and statistical skills for data analysis (EEG and cellular), and basic knowledge in numerical programming and neural modelling.


Start of the position Fall 2020, with a duration of 36 months.
Funding source INRIA (Action Exploratoire A/D Drugs)
Salary 19 200 EURO/year (net)
Duration 3 years, full-time
Two PhD Directors, who will serve as dissertation co-chairs of the candidate:
Axel Hutt, INRIA– MIMESIS -  Team web page
Didier Pinault, INSERM – U1114 - Lab web page

The PhD program includes (http://ed.vie-sante.unistra.fr/):
. 108 hours of scientific and transversal courses / workshops (Mathematics, neuroscience, neurology/psychiatry)
. one national/international conference.

General requirements

Predoctoral level or equivalent (master 2)
Graduate Admission Application
official transcripts
English/French languages

Please send your application documents (CV and 1 recommendation letter) by email to Axel Hutt.


Published on July 28, 2020