Postdoctoral Fellow – M. Winding Social Circuits and Connectomics Laboratory

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Postdoctoral Fellow – M. Winding Social Circuits and Connectomics Laboratory


Reporting to: Michael Winding, Group Leader

Contact term: This is a full-time, fixed term (4 years) position on Crick terms and conditions of employment.

Please note there is no closing date for this role and applicants will be considered on a rolling basis. We encourage you to apply as soon as possible if you are interested in the role.

The Research Group

The postdoctoral position will be in Dr. Michael Winding’s laboratory.

The Social Circuits and Connectomics Lab investigates how neuronal circuits in the brain drive social interactions between animals. To make this problem tractable, the lab focuses on cooperative foraging between fruit fly larvae. In this behaviour, individual animals come together and synchronise their movements to dig deeper into the food substrate and feed more efficiently. We have previously mapped the entire brain of this animal with synapse resolution (Winding, Pedigo et al. Science 2023), and will experimentally test the functional and behavioural roles of individual circuit elements in the connectome using linked genetic driver lines. These rich datasets are ripe for computational analysis and modelling, allowing for mechanistic understanding of circuit function and social behaviour.

Overview of the lab’s research vision can be found at:

https://www.crick.ac.uk/research/labs/michael-winding

Research techniques in the laboratory include: electron microscopy imaging by enhanced FIBSEM, automated reconstruction using machine learning pipelines, comparative connectomics and network analysis, functional imaging, behavioural opto/thermogenetics, 3D printing and design, building Raspberry Pi-based behavioural rigs.

The Project

The postdoctoral fellow will be part of a comparative connectomics project in the lab. We have identified environmental and genetic manipulations that disrupt normal social interactions in fruit fly larvae. The project involves investigating the circuitry changes in the brain that causes these deficits in social behaviour. We will use volume electron microscopy (EM) to image with synapse-resolution the entire brains of animals with social deficits, in collaboration with Lucy Collinson at the Crick’s EM STP. The postdoctoral fellow will help map the circuitry from EM using a combination of automated reconstruction and proofreading, followed by modelling and network analysis in collaboration with Carey Priebe at John Hopkins University. The goal is to determine how brain miswiring disrupts social behaviours.


This will be a group effort; the postdoctoral fellow will work alongside a PhD student and with the other members of the lab. The applicant should therefore work well in a team. After circuitry changes are identified, the fellow will model the possible functional and behavioural effects of these changes and collaborate with lab members to test predictions experimentally. To accomplish these tasks, the applicant should have a strong computational background.


The postholder will have the following responsibilities:

  • Help establish an automated reconstruction pipeline with the Crick’s AI team
  • Proofread the segmented neurons across the brain as needed
  • Comparative network analysis between control and experimental connectomes
  • Computationally model the activity of neurons, constrained by the identified circuitry


Postdoctoral Fellows will lead their own project, contribute to other projects on a collaborative basis (both in the lab and with external collaborators) and may guide PhD students in their research. The ability to work in a team is essential.

Key experience and competencies

The post holder should embody and demonstrate our core Crick values:

Bold; Open; Collegial

Essential

  • PhD (or in the final stages of PhD submission) in Computational Neuroscience, Quantitative Fields, or any Biomedical Field if the project involved a significant computational component.
  • Good knowledge and experience in python.
  • Ability to communicate effectively with experimentalists, work together to refine models.
  • Track record of impactful paper(s) or preprint(s).
  • Evidence of data presentation at scientific meetings.


Desirable

  • Experience in machine learning/PyTorch
  • Experience in network analysis
  • Previous work in connectomics
  • Experience in research with model biological system


About Us

At the Crick, we conduct research at the forefront of biomedical research. We combine rigour with an open and collaborative culture, and are outward-looking, reflecting our status as a partnership of six organisations aiming to pool knowledge, ideas and resources.

We have a wide research portfolio with no divisions or departments, bringing biomedical researchers together with clinicians, physical scientists and applied scientists from our pharmaceutical partners.

We aim to attract the most talented researchers and support them to tackle innovative research questions. Our Science Technology Platforms (STPs) provide our researchers with access to state-of-the-art technology and expertise. In this project, the postdoctoral fellow will minimally collaborate with the Software Engineering & AI STP and the Electron Microscopy STP.

We provide an excellent learning environment with dedicated education programmes in public engagement with science, education and personal development, and a postdoc training programme that prepares scientists for leadership roles in science.

  • If you are interested in applying for this role, please apply via our website.
  • All offers of employment are subject to successful security screening and continuous eligibility to work in the United Kingdom.
  • If you require a visa to work in the UK we will help support your application should you be successful.



Key information

Job reference

R1447

Salary

From £41,935 with benefits, subject to skills and experience.

Hours per week

36 (full time)

Contact

Email administrator



5738




Francis Crick Institute



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No deadline
Location: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, London
Categories: Biological Engineering, Biomedical Sciences, Computer Sciences, Laboratory Engineer, Neuroscience, PhD, Quantum engineering,

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