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MSCA-COFUND-CLEAR-Doc - PhD Position #CD22-52: High Density GRAphene Neuronal Implant based on Laser Induced Graphene (HD-Grani)

13/10/2022

Job Information

Organisation/Company
Université Gustave Eiffel
Department
ESYCOM
Research Field
Engineering
Engineering » Microengineering
Researcher Profile
First Stage Researcher (R1)
Country
France
Application Deadline
Type of Contract
Temporary
Job Status
Full-time
Hours Per Week
35
Is the job funded through the EU Research Framework Programme?
H2020 / Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions COFUND
Marie Curie Grant Agreement Number
101034248
Is the Job related to staff position within a Research Infrastructure?
No

Offer Description

Dysfunctions of the central nervous system are a major economic and social issue since they affect a growing number of people because of the aging population and longer life expectancy. These may be traumatic (eg, accidents, vascular lesions), psychological (eg, autism, depression, anorexia, bipolar disorder), neurodegenerative (eg, Parkinson, Alzheimer, Huntington), or related to tumors (eg, glioblastoma, medulloblastomas, neuromas). Today, many therapeutic and basic research advances occur at the interface of multiple disciplines ranging from biology (biochemistry, molecular and cellular biology, genetics), materials (biomaterials, new interfaces for the living), mathematics and computer science (modeling, signal processing), electronics (new instrumentation), physics and chemistry. Neuroscience approaches of neurotechnological prostheses and brain-machine interfaces (BMIs) aim to interface large neural ensembles using electrode arrays to access their functional dynamics.

Implantable neuroprosthetic devices offer the promise of restoring neurological functions to disabled individuals. Tests demonstrated that an array of microelectrodes implanted in cortex allows to record activity of the brain and to induce a movement on prosthetic limbs or electrical stimulations restore some visual sensations. For these applications, the lifetime and stability of the electrodes are critical features for the reliable operation of any implantable neuronal device. With around 150 000 neurons by square millimeter for human, it’s also necessary to have high-density implants with small electrodes to cover a large surface of the cortex to have access of neuronal code.

 

The goal of this thesis is to address one major challenge: - reduce the size of the electrodes to be equivalent to the neuron’s size (10 μm) without degradation of noise and consequently increase the electrode density for a fine mapping of the cortex, while targeting high biological compatibility.

 

Typical electrodes consist of flat gold and platinum surfaces. When the size of the electrode is reduced, its impedance increases and the rise on thermal noise hinders the ability to correctly record single neuronal signals. To overcome this limit, electrodes are functionalized with Black Pt or PEDOT in order to increase their surface are and thus decrease the impedance. Even if these electrodes give good results on in-vitro and in-vivo research, the degradation at long term prohibits their use for brain implants in humans.

 

To solve this issue, several teams explored the application of graphene on implant technology. This atomically thin material composed essentially of a monolayer of carbon, offers a good interface with neurons. There are however limitations in the usage of graphene, namely its integration with the production methods for the other parts of implants, requiring a transfer onto target substrates with direct synthesis being a challenge, and the intrinsic flat nature of a graphene film that would show the same problems for standard gold small electrode. The goal of this thesis will be to overcome this limit by using a new approach on the synthesis of graphene electrodes for implants, by introducing Laser Induced Graphene (LIG), a graphene-based highly porous structure obtained by direct laser pyrolysis of polymers. Some preliminary tests showed that is possible to create µm-sized electrodes directly onto polyimide, the same polymer used to currently produce soft implants, making this approach directly integrable into the common production process. Here with this solution, it will be possible to develop graphene implants with a complex structure and not limited by the number of electrode (256 electrodes and more) with a small pitch between electrodes.

Requirements

Research Field
Engineering
Education Level
Bachelor Degree or equivalent
Skills/Qualifications
  • At the time of the deadline, applicants must be in possession or finalizing their Master’s degree or equivalent/postgraduate degree.
  • At the time of recruitment, applicants must be in possession of their Master’s degree or equivalent/postgraduate degree which would formally entitle to embark on a doctorate.
Languages
FRENCH
Level
Basic
Languages
ENGLISH
Level
Excellent

Additional Information

Benefits
  • High-quality doctoral training rewarded by a PhD degree, delivered by Université Gustave Eiffel
  • Access to cutting-edge infrastructures for research & innovation.
  • Appointment for a period of 36 months based on a salary of 2 700 € (gross salary per month).
  • Job contract under the French labour legislation in force, respecting health and safety, and social security: 35 hours per week contract, 25 days of annual leave per year.
  • International mobility will be mandatory
  • An international environment supported by the adherence to the European Charter & Code.
  • Access to dedicated CLEAR-Doc trainings with a strong interdisciplinary focus, together with a Career development Plan.
Eligibility criteria

Applicants must fulfil the following eligibility criteria:

  • At the time of the deadline, applicants must be in possession or finalizing their Master’s degree or equivalent/postgraduate degree.
  • At the time of recruitment, applicants must be in possession of their Master’s degree or equivalent/postgraduate degree which would formally entitle to embark on a doctorate.
  • At the time of the deadline, applicants must be in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of their research career (career breaks excluded) and not yet been awarded a doctoral degree. Career breaks refer to periods of time where the candidate was not active in research, regardless of his/her employment status (sick leave, maternity leave etc). Short stays such as holidays and/or compulsory national service are not taken into account.
  • At the time of the deadline, applicants must fulfil the transnational mobility rule: incoming applicants must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in France for more than 12 months in the 3 previous years.

One application per call per year is allowed.

Applicants must be available full-time to start the programme on schedule (November 1st 2023).

Application rules are enforced by the French doctoral system which specifies a standard duration of 3 years for a full-time PhD together with the MSCA standards and the OTM-R European rules as follows.

Citizens of any nationality may apply to the programme.

There is no age limit.

Selection process

Please refer to the Guide for Applicants available on the CLEAR-Doc website

Additional comments
  • The First step before applying is contacting the PhD supervisor. You will not be able to apply without an acceptation letter from the PhD supervisor.
  • International Mobility: an international mobility is planned at University d'Aveiro, Portugal. For more information, please contact the PhD supervisor.
  • Please contact the PhD supervisor for any additional detail on job offer.
  • There are no restrictions concerning the age, gender or nationality of the candidates. Applicants with career breaks or variations in the chronological sequence of their career, with mobility experience or with interdisciplinary background or private sector experience are welcome to apply.
  • Support service is available during every step of the application process by email: clear-doc@univ-eiffel.fr
Website for additional job details

Work Location(s)

Number of offers available
1
Company/Institute
Université Gustave Eiffel
Country
France
State/Province
Île de France
City
Marne-la-Vallée
Postal Code
77454
Street
5 boulevard Descartes
Geofield

Contact

City
Marne-La-Vallée
Website
Street
5, Boulevard Descartes
Postal Code
77454
E-Mail
lionel.rousseau@univ-eiffel.fr