[visionlist] Ph.D. position and research assistant position in visual neuroethology

Anna Stöckl anna.stoeckl at uni-wuerzburg.de
Thu Sep 5 06:50:52 -04 2019


*Anna Stöckl’s group at the at the Department of Behavioral Physiology & 
Sociobiology at Würzburg University 
(https://www.biozentrum.uni-wuerzburg.de/en/zoo2/homepage/) has 2 
vacancies for positions within the field of visual neuroethology.

The Stöckl lab studies the visual neuroethology of hawkmoths – in 
particular spatial information processing and the neural basis of flower 
selection and movement control. We combine intracellular 
electrophysiology, quantitative behavioural experiments and 
neuroanatomical methods (immunohistochemistry, block-face SEM) to answer 
these questions.

*PhD position (3 years): Parallel spatial channels in the insect visual 
The visual system acquires information about the natural world with a 
particularly high dimensionality. Parallel processing categorizing 
visual signals at an early stage is crucial to process the complex input 
with limited neural capacities. While well-known from vertebrates, the 
existence of parallel spatial processing channels in insects has not yet 
been demonstrated. In this project, the PhD candidate will study spatial 
processing in the hawkmoths brain, in particular lamina monopolar cells, 
which previous results have pointed to as the ideal candidates for 
parallel spatial channels. This will be achieved by intracellular 
recordings, combined with immunohistochemistry and serial block-face SEM 
reconstructions of the lamina. Using quantitative behavioural paradigms, 
the resulting spatial acuity of the different channels will also be 

*Research assistant (1 year): Visually guided proboscis control in 
We do it hundreds of times a day, when pressing a button, or grabbing a 
cup of tea: we see objects and reach for them. Yet, this ability is rare 
among insects. This project proposes to establish the first insect model 
for the study of visually guided reaching using the hawkmoth 
Macroglossum stellatarum. Within this project, the research assistant 
will study how these insects use patterns on flower faces to visually 
guide their proboscis to the nectary. This will be achieved using 
established behavioural paradigms, which we film in high-speed and 
analyse using deep neural networks for marker-free tracking. 
Electrophysiological recordings can be established as part of this 
project as well. 

For more information about the positions, please see the attached 
documents or visit 

Best Regards,
Anna Stöckl

Dr. Anna Stöckl
Wissenschaftliche Assistentin
Lehrstuhl für Verhaltensphysiologie und Soziobiologie
Julius Maximilians Universität Würzburg
Am Hubland
97074 Würzburg

Tel.: +49 931 31-86572
E-Mail: anna.stoeckl at uni-wuerzburg.de

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