Investigating the neural circuits underlying (visual) consciousness

Website SILS UvA, Cognitive and Systems neuroscience group

The Cognitive and Systems Neuroscience group (with dr. Umberto Olcese) from the University of Amsterdam is seeking a motivated MSc intern to work on a research project that aims to investigate the neural circuits underlying visual consciousness.

Background: Significant progress has been made by correlating behavioral markers of conscious perception with neural activity. Nevertheless, leading theories of consciousness make contrasting predictions about which of these neural correlates are necessary for conscious perception. The goal of this project is to empirically test the contrasting predictions of some of the major theories of consciousness on whether consciousness arises via recurrent processing involving prefrontal cortex, or rather within the posterior part of the neocortex. We will apply projection-specific neural perturbation methods to determine which neural circuits are causally related to visual consciousness.

Tasks: The main responsibility of the intern will be to conduct behavioral training with mice on a visual discrimination task and analyse corresponding data. Additionally, they will have the chance to gain hands-on experience with various experimental techniques in the laboratory, including brain sectioning and histology. Moreover, they will be able to observe and analyse Neuropixels recordings (in vivo electrophysiolgy) with optogenetic interventions.

Profile: We are looking for a MSc student that is interested in the topic of consciousness, eager to learn several experimental techniques in the lab and willing to work with animals. The project will provide an excellent opportunity to learn about the neural basis of consciousness and gain hands-on experience with cutting-edge experimental techniques. If you are interested in this project, please apply with your CV and a brief statement of motivation. We look forward to hearing from you!


Starting date: September 2024 (flexible starting date)
Duration: Minimum of 5 months
Location: Amsterdam Science Park
You will be supervised by Sabine Gnodde (PhD student) on a daily basis, in the lab of dr. Umberto Olcese.
To apply or ask for more information you can contact Sabine Gnodde (

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