PhD Student in Neuroscience

Leuven Neuro-Electronics Research Center Flanders (NERF)

06 Dec 2018


Neuro-Electronics Research Center Flanders (NERF)

Karl Farrow Lab




The Farrowlab is looking for creative, computationally literate individuals interested in performing in-vivo experiments, then applying their quantitative skills to determine the mechanistic relationships between neural activity in identified circuits and behaviour. We have two open PhD positions.

Many of the computations performed by the nervous system can be interpreted as answers to particular challenges posed by the live histories of an animal. However how neural circuits are organized to link sensory inputs with the activation of behavior remains unknown. The labs central aim is to determine how neural circuits in the brain are organized to disseminate information to enable the necessary computations that link sensory stimuli with the triggering of suitable behaviours. This is done to: uncover fundamental principals of how the brain is organized; determine how defects in circuitry leads to brain dysfunction, and determine what aspects of this circuitry is conserved across evolution. To address these questions, we employ large-scale recordings of neural activity in targeted circuits spanning multiple brain regions during visually evoked behaviours in virtual reality environments.

Interested applicants should send a  with a cover letter describing your past projects, what you hope to get out of the Farrow Lab and what you hope to bring. Please enclose a CV and the contact information of 2-3 references. Two different projects are available.

Project 1: Retina to behaviour

This project uses a combination of viral based neural circuit tracing techniques and calcium imaging to delineate the visual circuits involved in foraging and avoidance behaviours in mice. This work will involve the labeling and recording of targeted circuits using transsynaptic viral tracing and two photon calcium imaging to determine how distinct visual features extracted by the retina are distributed by the superior colliculus to motor centers that trigger motor output.

Project 2: Information routing in the brain

This project is a collaboration with Alan Urban. Combination of whole brain functional ultrasound imaging (fUSI) with optogenetics and NeuroPixel Probes to analyze the brain activity during natural visually evoked behaviour in a virtual reality environment. This work will involve the design of behavioural assays for mice, then the in-vivo recording of whole brain activity to delineate the brain circuitry and computations that link visual inputs to behaviour.


Candidates are expected to have a degree in science of engineering with a strong interest in neuroscience and good quantitative/computational skills. Prior experience in electrophysiology, in vivo imaging, animal behavior, molecular biology or computer science is an advantage.

We offer

  • Opportunity to do science in a supportive and collaborative team.
  • State-of-the-art tools and facilities including: setups for multiphoton microscopy, widefield imaging, high-density electrode recordings (Neuropixels), functional ultrasound imaging and viral tracing.
  • Fully-funded, research only positions with benefits.

How to apply?

Motivated candidates are asked to apply online.