Agent-based computational modelling of cortical development and neural self-organization



Are you interested in the brain, as well as computers? Then this PhD studentship may be of interest: we are looking for a bright and highly motivated student to use computer simulations to model how the brain develops prenatally. The goal is to better understand how genetic instructions produce a functional cortex, and how this process can go wrong in neurodevelopmental disorders.

You will be using innovative and highly performing software ( and experimental data from the literature to create a computational model of cortical development and neural self-organization. This will enable the generation and comparison of biologically plausible hypotheses on brain development. To this end, you will work together with experts in the field to learn how to use agent-based modelling and reproduce various experimental data on cortical anatomy and electrical activity. In particular, the goals of this project are:

  • Develop biologically realistic computational models of cortical development

  • Simulate using high-performance computing a “virtual cortex”

  • Contribute to the ongoing computational biology collaboration BioDynaMo

  • Present and disseminate your research at various events, conferences and presentations




As a PhD researcher you will undertake training that will lead towards a PhD and allow you to gain various skills and expertise to strongly support your future career, whether in industry or academia. Students will be supported in publishing their research and encouraged to present it at international conferences. The student will be supervised by Dr Roman Bauer and others at the Department of Computer Science at the University of Surrey.

The University of Surrey offers a variety of professional training courses that will be made available to the successful applicant. The student will learn modern computational approaches and also benefit from the ongoing BioDynaMo project on high-performance computational research, in collaboration with IT-experts at CERN. Notably, the student will benefit from weekly seminars and daily interactions with computational and biomedical researchers. The studentship is for a duration of 3.5 years.


Equality, Diversity and Inclusion


The University of Surrey is committed to providing an environment which recognises and values people's differences, capitalises on the strengths that those differences bring to the institution and supports all staff and students in maximising their potential to succeed. This commitment is made with specific reference to a person's age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religious belief and non-belief, sex and sexual orientation. Along those lines, the University of Surrey was awarded an Athena SWAN Bronze award, is part of the Race Equality Charter, has partnered with AccessAble and supports the “Time to Change” campaign. Likewise, the National Physical Laboratory is strongly committed to diversity, beyond the Equality Act and Public Sector Equality Duty.



Candidates who are UK citizens, have pre-settled or settled status, or have indefinite leave to remain are eligible for this PhD studentship.

How to apply


Interested candidates are encouraged to contact asap the PI Dr Roman Bauer via and apply via the University of Surrey’s application platform:

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