The laboratory of Prof. Gregoire Courtine at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) in Lausanne, Switzerland, is looking to fill a fully funded PhD position. The qualified candidate will benefit from joining a very dynamic and multidisciplinary group working at the interface of computational neuroscience, neuroengineering, prosthetics and biology. EPFL provides state-of-the-art facilities and is one of the leading technical universities worldwide. PhD salaries at EPFL rank the highest in the world.
The offered position will be based at the Defitech Center for interventional Neurotherapies (NeuroRestore) – a research and innovation center joining EPFL’s lab of Prof. Gregoire Courtine and the University Hospital of Lausanne (CHUV) lab of Prof. Jocelyne Bloch. NeuroRestore conceives, develops and applies medical therapies aimed to restore neurological functions. To this end, NeuroRestore integrates implantable neurotechnologies with innovative treatments developed through rigorous preclinical and clinical studies. By working with our network of vibrant high-tech start-ups and established medical technology companies, NeuroRestore is committed to validate our medical therapy concepts. The overarching goal of NeuroRestore is to see our medical therapies used every day in hospitals and rehabilitation clinics worldwide.
Neurological disorders that disrupt the communication between the brain and the spinal cord can induce inability to adequately regulate blood pressure. This hemodynamic instability threatens survival, increases cardiovascular disease risk, and reduces quality of life. Such hemodynamic instability results from the interruption of supraspinal efferent commands to sympathetic circuits located in the spinal cord, which prevents the natural baroreflex from controlling these circuits to adjust peripheral vascular resistance. We previously showed that epidural electrical stimulation (EES) of the spinal cord can compensate for interrupted supraspinal commands to motor circuits below injury, which restored walking after paralysis. We also leveraged these concepts to develop EES protocols that restore hemodynamic stability after spinal cord injury. Nonetheless, other neurological disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease, also induce hemodynamic instability. Effective clinical solutions for these patients are not yet available.
The successful candidate will work to develop and implement an EES therapy to alleviate hemodynamic instability in people with Parkinson’s disease. They will use develop approaches to initialize stimulation protocols for this therapy and engineer algorithms that will automatize this process. They will develop computational techniques to identify optimal spinal cord stimulation locations and devise physiological experiments to guide the surgeons when implanting the spinal leads to target those optimal locations. They will develop software that wile automatize these pre-operative panning and intra-operative assistance procedures. They will assist with organizing a clinical trial of their therapeutic concept and analyze the physiological and behavioral data acquired during the trial. On all of these tasks, the successful candidate will benefit from our solutions and experiences from developing spinal cord injury treatments.
- Master’s Degree in Physics, Computer Science, Microengineering, Engineering or related
- Proficiency in Matlab or Python
- Proficiency in and some programming language (e.g. C++, C#, Java)
- Experience with analysis of data
- Good written and verbal skills in English
Applications including a CV and a cover letter describing your background and interest should be sent to PDHEMO.Courtine@gmail.com . Informal inquiries are welcome and should be sent to email@example.com .
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