Funded PhD in computational psychiatry, starting 2019

Under acute threat, rapid selection of appropriate behaviour is paramount to survival. Mammals including humans have evolved sophisticated strategies to prospectively predict threat, but malfunction in these strategies can also lead to clinical problems. The PhD candidate will investigate cognitive-computational models of threat prediction in humans and (a) contribute to the development of high-throughput experimental methods (including online approaches), (b) develop and experimentally test computational models to predict human behaviour, and (c) investigate their neural implementation using neuroimaging (eg. fMRI, MEG, or iEEG). The project currently hosts 1 PostDoc and 1 PhD student.

The wider goal of the research group is to investigate conserved neural circuits that support threat-related behaviour, and to obtain a computational understanding of the algorithms they implement. The ultimate goal of this research programme is to improve our understanding of pathological emotions in psychiatric disorders (http://bachlab.org), and to develop novel interventions (http://bachlab.org/synapse-trauma).

The laboratory offers an intellectually inspiring, friendly and collaborative research environment, close supervision, access to neuroimaging facilities (3 T and 7 T fMRI, MEG, iEEG, TMS), and is linked to the CRPP Synapse and Trauma, and to the Department of Psychiatry, where our offices and testing facilities are located (http://bachlab.org/contact).

The position is funded by the University of Zurich for 3 years with a possibility of extension, and paid according to university standards. The candidate will participate in the PhD programme of the Zurich Neuroscience Centre (admission via track II: neuroscience.uzh.ch).

We are looking for a highly motivated individual who wishes to pursue a career in science, and has an interest in theoretical neuroscience as well as hands-on experimentation. Applicants should have MSc in any science/engineering discipline with a strong focus on mathematical/computational modelling, and programming/computing. Project experience in neuroscience or cognitive science is required. Familiarity with Java, Python, Matlab and R, is a plus. Fluent English is mandatory, German is not required.

Earliest starting date is January 2019. Applications are accepted until the position is filled (http://bachlab.org/opportunities for updates). Applicants should send, in one merged PDF, a cover letter including a statement of research interest, CV, publication list, relevant certificates (including MSc degree with grades), and the name and contact of at least two references to:

MSc theses and semester projects on SIROP, for internal and external students

for external students (not UZH or ETH), see additional information below.

MSc and Dr. med. for local students and MDs

  •  one-year research projects (MSc UZH), 6- and 3 month-projects (MSc ETH), Dr. med. projects
  • topics: fear conditioning/extinction, anxiety models, emergence of subjective feeling, applied statistics (pattern classification methods)
  • methods: behavioural methods, EEG, statistics & data analysis methods, pharmacology

Supervision: Prof. Dominik Bach

Please contact us with a CV (PDF) and BSc documents for further information.

MSc and research studentships for external students

We host external research students with the following restrictions:

  • minimum stay 12 weeks
  • relevant background
  • no employment, no work contract, no enrolment at local university

For further information, please contact us with a CV, study certificates, proof of enrolment, ID/passport (all in one PDF), and refer to these restrictions in your email. Due to a heavy load of informal enquiries, we cannot answer applications without these documents.