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Mar 18, 2021

Postdoc position with Drs. Ammar Shaikhouni and Roger Ratcliff at OSU: neural mechanisms of decision making and epilepsy

Dr. Shaikhouni’s laboratory investigates the neural mechanisms of decision making and epilepsy. We capitalize on our access to neurosurgical patients undergoing deep brain stimulation or epilepsy surgery to study neural correlates of decision making and epilepsy propagation. We use a combination of intracortical recording (single unit with microelectrodes as well as local field potential with depth electrodes and grids) and computation modeling techniques.

For our work on the neural basis of decision making, we collaborate with the lab of Dr. Roger Ratcliff ( for computational psychology modeling of decision-making behavior. The central goal of our investigations is to understand how neural activity relates to executive function and how brain stimulation or resection may alter or improve executive function. The long-term goal is to develop therapies for patients with executive function disorders and to develop diagnostic tools to predict the effect of brain surgery on cognitive function.

For epilepsy, we focus on the role of brain stimulation in treatment of epilepsy. Specifically, we are trying to understand how to use thalamic stimulation to treat patients with intractable epilepsy who are not candidates for resection surgery. For this we use a combination of theoretical and mathematical methods to analyze ictal and interictal thalamic and cortical neural data collected from epilepsy patients. We have two aims here: 1) understand the role of thalamocortical circuit in the generation and propagation of seizures and 2) develop new methods to select and treat patients with intractable epilepsy using neurostimulation technology.

The lab is seeking postdoctoral and graduate students with strong computational background. Important skills to have include strong programming skills in Matlab, R, Python, Julia, or Fortran. Experience working with and analyzing large scale time-series data is needed. Background in machine learning techniques is helpful. Applications from physics, applied mathematics, engineering, computer science, and computational psychology or neuroscience fields are highly encouraged and desired.

Dr. Shaikhouni is a neurosurgeon with an engineering background and performs brain surgery every week. This provides a steady stream of patients for testing.