- Type of research degree
- Application deadline
- Ongoing deadline
- Project start date
- Thursday 1 September 2022
- Country eligibility
- International (open to all nationalities, including the UK)
- Competition funded
- Source of funding
- University of Leeds
- Professor Netta Cohen
- School of Computing
The microscopic roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans is a relatively simple animal, with a small and fully mapped anatomy and nervous system. Dubbed the hydrogen atom of systems neuroscience, it is also the subject of intensifying efforts to model this creature completely. We are interested in understanding the neuro-mechanical control of locomotion in this animal. This project combines models of neural dynamics with biomechanics: you will construct and test computational models of the dynamics of neural circuits that are integrated within a biomechanical framework. The research includes developing and implementing the models, validating them against experimental observations, performing dynamical systems analysis, e.g. to identify targets and modes of modulation, and generating experimentally testable predictions. This project will focus on modelling the dynamics of neural circuits that control locomotion. Specific topics could focus on a specific circuit or behaviour. Topics will be chosen from the scope and remit of the project, but tailored to individual interests and skills.
<p>We are interested in understanding the neuro-mechanical control of locomotion in this animal. Our approach combines models of neural dynamics with biomechanics: we construct and test computational models of the dynamics of neural circuits that are integrated within a biomechanical framework. We are interested in developing and implementing the models, validating them against experimental observations, performing dynamical systems analysis, e.g. to identify targets and modes of modulation, and generating experimentally testable predictions. This project will focus on modelling the dynamics of neural circuits that control locomotion. Specific topics could focus on a specific circuit or behaviour, for example:</p> <ul> <li>Modelling the neural and motor control of head muscles in 2D and/or 3D</li> <li>Modelling the interface between motor control in the head and body (including commands for the initiation/termination and modulation of locomotion and/or providing feedback from the body to the head)</li> <li>Modelling the coupling between the forward and backward locomotion circuits along the body</li> </ul> <p>Topics will be chosen from the scope and remit of the project, but tailored to individual interests and skills</p> <h5>Background</h5> <p>This studentship forms part of a larger collaborative and interdisciplinary project, that currently includes two academics (Thomas Ranner and Netta Cohen), two postdoctoral fellows and three PhD students. We study the neuromechanical basis of behaviour in the nematode worm <em>C. elegans</em>. Research combines biological experiments, mathematical and computational modelling of the neural control as well as investigations of the physics of the worm and its interaction with the environment. We are seeking to appoint up to four further PhD candidates focusing on the undulatory motion of this worm: one project on the mathematical understanding of numerical methods for biomechanical models (with Thomas Ranner), one on modelling the neural control of locomotion (with Netta Cohen), one experimental project, combining behavioural experiments and machine vision (with Netta Cohen) and one exploring the dynamics of the worm’s behaviour (with Netta Cohen). All projects are envisioned within this multidisciplinary setting. You will join a multi-disciplinary, dynamic, and creative group within the School of Computing at the University of Leeds, with close ties to the Fluid Dynamics Centre for Doctoral Training, the Hope Laboratory and the van Oosten-Hawle Laboratory in the Faculty of Biological Sciences, where additional biological experimental facilities are housed. Informal enquires are welcome from all potential candidates. </p>
<p>Formal applications for research degree study should be made online through the <a href="https://www.leeds.ac.uk/research-applying/doc/applying-research-degrees">University's website</a>. Please state clearly in the Planned Course of Study section that you are applying for <em><strong>PHD Computing FT</strong></em> and in the research information section that the research degree you wish to be considered for is <em><strong>Modelling the neural control of locomotion</strong></em> as well as <a href="https://eps.leeds.ac.uk/computing/staff/301/professor-netta-cohen">Prof Netta Cohen</a> as your proposed supervisor.</p> <p>If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence that you meet the University's minimum English language requirements (below).</p> <p style="margin-bottom:11px"><em>As an international research-intensive university, we welcome students from all walks of life and from across the world. We foster an inclusive environment where all can flourish and prosper, and we are proud of our strong commitment to student education. Across all Faculties we are dedicated to diversifying our community and we welcome the unique contributions that individuals can bring, and particularly encourage applications from, but not limited to Black, Asian, people who belong to a minority ethnic community, people who identify as LGBT+ and people with disabilities. Applicants will always be selected based on merit and ability.</em></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">Applications will be considered on an ongoing basis. Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the supervisors for an informal discussion before making a formal application. We also advise that you apply at the earliest opportunity as the application and selection process may close early, should we receive a sufficient number of applications or that a suitable candidate is appointed.</p> <p>Please note that you must provide the following documents at the point you submit your application:</p> <ul> <li>Full Transcripts of all degree study or if in final year of study, full transcripts to date</li> <li>Personal Statement outlining your interest in the project</li> <li>CV</li> <li>Funding information including any alternative sources of funding that you are applying for or if you are able to pay your own fees and maintenance</li> </ul> <p> </p>
Applicants to research degree programmes should normally have at least a first class or an upper second class British Bachelors Honours degree (or equivalent) in an appropriate discipline. The criteria for entry for some research degrees may be higher, for example, several faculties, also require a Masters degree. Applicants who are uncertain about the requirements for a particular research degree are advised to contact the School or Graduate School prior to making an application.
The minimum English language entry requirement for research postgraduate research study is an IELTS of 6.5 overall with at least 6.5 in writing and at 6.0 in reading, listening and speaking) or equivalent. The test must be dated within two years of the start date of the course in order to be valid. Some schools and faculties have a higher requirement.
<p style="margin-bottom:12px"><strong>Self-Funded or externally sponsored students are welcome to apply.</strong></p> <p><strong>UK</strong> – The <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk/funding/209-leeds-doctoral-scholarships-2022">Leeds Doctoral Scholarships</a> and <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk/funding/234-leeds-opportunity-research-scholarship-2022">Leeds Opportunity Research Scholarship</a> are available to UK applicants (open from October 2023). <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk/funding/60-alumni-bursary">Alumni Bursary</a> is available to graduates of the University of Leeds.</p> <p><strong>Non-UK</strong> –The <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk/funding/48-china-scholarship-council-university-of-leeds-scholarships-2021">China Scholarship Council - University of Leeds Scholarship</a> is available to nationals of China (open from October 2023). The <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk/funding/73-leeds-marshall-scholarship">Leeds Marshall Scholarship</a> is available to support US citizens. <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk/funding/60-alumni-bursary">Alumni Bursary</a> is available to graduates of the University of Leeds.</p> <p><strong>Important:</strong> Any costs associated with your arrival at the University of Leeds to start your PhD including flights, immigration health surcharge/medical insurance and Visa costs are <strong>not</strong> covered under this studentship.</p> <p>Please refer to the <a href="https://www.ukcisa.org.uk/">UKCISA</a> website for information regarding Fee Status for Non-UK Nationals.</p>
<p>For further information about your application, please contact Doctoral College Admissions<br /> e: <a href="mailto:email@example.com">firstname.lastname@example.org</a></p> <p>For further information about this project, please contact Professor Netta Cohen<br /> e: <a href="mailto:N.Cohen@leeds.ac.uk">N.Cohen@leeds.ac.uk</a></p>
<h3 class="heading heading--sm">Linked research areas</h3>