PhD in Sensory and Motor Neuroscience
The doctoral program "Sensory and Motor Neuroscience" is a member of the Göttingen Graduate School for Neurosciences and Molecular Biosciences (GGNB). It is hosted by the University of Göttingen, the Max Planck Institute for Self-Organization and Dynamics, and the German Primate Center.
The research-oriented program is taught in English and open to students who hold a Master's degree (or equivalent) in the biosciences, chemistry, physics, medicine, or related fields.
Processing of sensory information and subsequent motor responses form the basis of our interaction with the outside world. Sensory and motor deficits are common and of immense sociocultural relevance. Exploring the principles of peripheral and central sensory processing, motor programming and response requires a combination of anatomical, physiological and computational skills. Moreover, a general understanding of sensory coding and its conversion into cognitive processes and motor action relies on integrating specialized sensory curriculum with a broad neuroscience training.
The program provides a specialized but interdisciplinary training to promote a new generation of scientists with a comprehensive knowledge and state-of-the-art practical and theoretical skills in sensory and motor research. In particluar, it addresses students with a special interest in understanding cellular mechanisms of sensory processing, sensorimotor transformation and goal-directed behavior.
The research goals are to elucidate cellular mechanisms of normal and impaired peripheral and central sensory processing, to explore sensorimotor transformation, the modulation of sensory and motor function and to study goal-directed behavior. Peripheral sensory research combines cell-physiological and biophysical approaches with molecular strategies for the investigation of cellular signaling complexes in the sensory cells of ear, eye, and nose.
Projects deal with coding at ribbon synapses and transduction in olfactory receptor neurons. A combined cell-physiological and genetic approach to the calyx of Held synapse is used to explore the mechanisms underlying temporal acuity, reliability, and plasticity of information processing in the auditory brainstem.
Systems physiology and computational approaches are used to elucidate processing principles and circuit plasticity in the auditory system of insects and in the primate visual cortex, where also the modulation by attention is studied.
Research on sensorimotor transformations, complex perception-action loops, learning of adaptive, anticipatory behavior, and the modulation of motor function by transcranial magnetic stimulation and direct current stimulation uses both experimental and theoretical approaches.
The doctoral program "Sensory and Motor Neuroscience" is a member of the Göttingen Graduate School for Neurosciences and Molecular Biosciences (GGNB). The graduate school offers a joint modular training program to which the twelve doctoral programs of GGNB contribute and that is open to all GGNB students. In addition to a lecture and seminar program, training consists of (1) individual counselling by thesis committees, (2) intensive methods courses of 1-3 weeks in special training labs, (3) 2-3-day methods courses in the laboratories of the participating faculty, (4) professional skills courses such as scientific writing, presentation skills, intercultural communication, project management, team-leadership skills, conflict resolution, ethics, and career development, and (5) student-organized scientific meetings, industry excursions, and intercultural events. Students are able to tailor their individual curriculum by choosing from a large number of courses and events.
Exploring the principles of peripheral and central sensory processing, motor programming and response requires a combination of anatomical, physiological, and computational skills. The program provides training across the sensory modalities, and applies cellular and systems approaches to motor function. Students will acquire a broad neuroscience background and are trained in computational approaches for quantitative analysis and modelling of the sensory and motor mechanisms.
In addition to seminars on sensory and motor physiology, the program will contribute to GGNB training with short methods courses in state-of-the-art techniques in cell physiology, high resolution imaging/anatomy and bioinfomatics both at an introductory and advanced level.
Experimental research constitutes the major component of the doctoral studies and is conducted in the laboratory of a faculty member of the doctoral program. Doctoral research projects are complemented by a school-wide training program, offered to all GGNB students, who are members of a vibrant international research community. The language of the doctoral program is English.
Last updated May 23, 2016