Call for application â“ One (1) joint postdoctoral position is available in the Papouin and Ching labs at Washington University in St Louis (MO, USA) to implement artificial astro-neuronal networks with applications to reinforcement learning and machine learning.
One joint Postdoctoral Research Associate position is open in the Papouin lab (https://sites.wustl.edu/papouinlab/) and Ching lab (http://braindynamics.engineering.wustl.edu) at Washington University in St Louis, in the Departments of Neuroscience and Electrical & Systems Engineering, to conduct groundbreaking studies on the design and implementation of neural networks and machine learning algorithms that incorporate innovative views of astrocytes biology. Astrocytes are non-neuronal cells that account for ~50% of the mammalian brain and have come to the forefront of neuroscience for their capacity to regulate neuronal activity and their instrumental roles in brain states and cognition. Yet, because they are not electrically active, astrocytes have been discounted in the modeling of brain-like neural networks and in brain-inspired algorithms.
The successful candidate will join inclusive, productive, dynamic and highly complementary teams, as part of a strong, ongoing and well-funded collaboration. Both labs offer vibrant, new and custom-designed laboratory spaces with rich intellectual environments, and hands-on mentoring and the possibility to work remotely. The Papouin lab studies the role of astrocytes in information processing in the mammalian brain at the cellular, circuit and behavioral levels. Techniques routinely employed in the Papouin lab include slice electrophysiology, optogenetics, mouse behavioral assays, electron microscopy, viral deliveries of genetic constructs (e.g. DREADDS, CalEx), molecular genetics (CRISPR/Cas9), calcium imaging, and more. The Papouin lab has recently put forward an innovative and holistic theory for how astrocytes participate to brain circuit activity. The Ching lab studies dynamics and function in neuronal circuits, with a focus on revealing the role of brain dynamics across scales in mediating information processing and higher aspects of cognition. Techniques used include computational modeling, dynamical systems analysis, and optimization theory. Outcome of this research span impacts in theoretical neuroscience, artificial intelligence and neural engineering.
This ongoing collaboration, funded by the DoD and the NIH, aims at implementing the notion of contextual guidance, wherein astrocytes help contextualize neural networks by providing spatial segmentation and temporal hierarchy. Particular foci include the potential role of astrocytes in reinforcement learning over multiple timescales, and in enabling meta-learning in recurrent neural networks.
Being versed in the fields of astroglial biology is preferred but not necessary. The successful candidate will have experience in computational neuroscience, which may include neural circuit modeling, analysis and/or machine learning with specific emphasis on recurrent neural networks.
Funding is in hand for at least up to two years, but we will also provide training in grant writing for fellowship applications to various foundations and funding agencies. Overall, mentoring will be provided by both PIs through joint meetings, and the candidate will have ample opportunities for training in both labs. In addition, career and professional development training for postdoctoral researchers is provided through the Career Center, Teaching Center, Office of Postdoctoral Affairs, and campus groups. Additional information on being a postdoc at Washington University in St. Louis is found at https://postdoc.wustl.edu/prospective-postdocs-2/.
The Department of Neuroscience at Washington University is made of over 30 different laboratories, which research spans the entire field of fundamental and translational Neuroscience, the full breath of research models (from computation and fossils to non-human primates and human patients), and the entire breath of techniques used in modern Neuroscience. We work closely with Cores, Centers and other Departments, such as the Departments of Anesthesiology, Genetics and Psychiatry, and have access to clinical research and human subjects, as well as tissue samples through partnerships with local hospitals. The Departments of Neuroscience and Genetics are home to a number of prominent and internationally recognized researchers.
The Preston M. Green Department of Electrical & Systems Engineering (ESE) at Washington University is the second-oldest electrical engineering department in the U.S. Systems Science & Mathematics (SSM) is a unique department specializing in applied mathematics, systems, control, and operations research. The ESE Department enjoys easy access to the campus at large as well as the Washington University School of Medicine.Â The academic environment is thus highly conducive to interdisciplinary, collaborative research and training.Â This is evidenced by the large population of graduate and undergraduate students engaged in research activities in the ESE department.
Washington University is ranked #20 in the World Best Universities (Shanghai ranking) and #9 in the Best Global Universities for Neuroscience and Behavior, with access to a virtually limitless array of techniques, in an exceptionally friendly, collegial and collaborative atmosphere. Our department is also proudly international in nature, with PIs and postdocs originating from Switzerland, France, Germany, U.K., Bulgaria, Italy, Spain, Canada, Russia, Korea, China, and India.
Trains under the supervision of the faculty mentors Drs. Thomas Papouin and ShiNung Ching.
Assists with the development and implementation of studies.
Assists and provides additional mentoring to graduate students.
Develops and leads their own project independently, leading to at least one first author publication.
Develops their career plan and path to independence.
Develops proficiency in career skills, including writing, public speaking, networking, and critical evaluation of scientific literature.
Presents scientific work both inside and outside the University with excellent oral communication skills.
Assists with grant preparation and reporting.
Maintains conformity with ethical standards in research.
Complies with the Papouin and Ching lab ethics, research standards and philosophy.
Maintains compliance with laboratory practice, including the maintenance of adequate research records.
Engages in open and timely discussion with the mentor regarding possession or distribution of material, reagents, or records belonging to their laboratory and any proposed disclosure of findings or techniques privately or in publications.
Maintains collegial conduct towards co-trainees, staff members and members of the research group.
Adheres to all applicable University policies, procedures and regulations.Â Data, research records and materials, and intellectual property generated in WashU laboratories remain the property of the University.
Ph.D. degree in neuroscience or a related life sciences discipline.
Demonstrated ability to conduct research independently.
Demonstrated experience with the genetics approaches described above.
Versed in the fields of astroglial biology.
This position works in a laboratory environment with potential exposure to biological and chemical hazards.Â The individual must be physically able to wear protective equipment and to provide standard care to research animals.
Base pay is commensurate with experience
Applicant Special Instructions
To apply for this postdoctoral research opportunity, please email a CV/Biosketch with list of publications and awards (if applicable), a brief statement of research interest and experience, and the contact information of at least two references, directly to Drs. Thomas Papouin and ShiNung Ching at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications will be considered until the position is filled.Â Position can start immediately but start-date is flexible.Â
If you are unable to use our online application system and would like an accommodation, please emailÂ CandidateQuestions@wustl.eduÂ or call the dedicated accommodation inquiry number at 314-935-1149 and leave a voicemail with the nature of your request.
All external candidates receiving an offer for employment will be required to submit to pre-employment screening for this position. The screenings will include criminal background check and, as applicable for the position, other background checks, drug screen, an employment and education or licensure/certification verification, physical examination, certain vaccinations and/or governmental registry checks. All offers are contingent upon successful completion of required screening.
Washington University in St. Louis is committed to providing a comprehensive and competitive benefits package to our employees. Benefits eligibility is subject to employment status, full-time equivalent (FTE) workload, and weekly standard hours. Please visit our website at https://hr.wustl.edu/benefits/ to view a summary of benefits.
Washington University in St. Louis is committed to the principles and practices of equal employment opportunity and especially encourages applications by those from underrepresented groups. It is the Universityâ™s policy to provide equal opportunity and access to persons in all job titles without regard to race, ethnicity, color, national origin, age, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, protected veteran status, or genetic information.
Washington University is dedicated to building a diverse community of individuals who are committed to contributing to an inclusive environment â“ fostering respect for all and welcoming individuals from diverse backgrounds, experiences and perspectives. Individuals with a commitment to these values are encouraged to apply.
Washington University in St. Louis, a medium-sized, independent university, is dedicated to challenging its faculty and students alike to seek new knowledge and greater understanding of an ever-changing, multicultural world. The University offers more than 90 programs and almost 1,500 courses leading to bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in a broad spectrum of traditional and interdisciplinary fields, with additional opportunities for minor concentrations and individualized programs. The faculty is composed of scholars, scientists, artists and members of the learned professions. They serve society by teaching; by adding to the store of human art, creativity, understanding, and wisdom; and by providing direct services, such as health care.