Internship: Neural codes and computations 2: modelling the mouse visual system

Internship aim: develop a large-scale biologically plausible model of the mouse visual system.
6 months
Daily support
Jorrit Montijn


Internship aim: develop a large-scale biologically plausible model of the mouse visual system.

What you can gain

  1. understanding of population coding concepts in neuroscience,
  2. learning how to use experimental data to guide model development, testing, and selection,
  3. personal mentoring to develop your own niche at the intersection of experimental and theoretical neuroscience,
  4. modeling skills in the relatively theoretically unexplored area of the mouse visual system,
  5. a co-authorship on a scientific publication, if the results lead to a publishable paper

What you need

  • a social teamwork-oriented spirit
  • some background knowledge of experimental neuroscience
  • good quantitative skills (for example a BSc in theoretical biology/neuroscience, physics, applied mathematics, etc)
  • excellent programming skills and a willingness to learn MATLAB
  • an internship duration of at least 6 months, but preferably longer


Modern systems neuroscience is built largely on prior studies of primates, which has guided the development of most biologically plausible models so far. However, rodents have become the de facto experimental model system, which means that many computational models of primate vision cannot accurately predict much of the experimental data that is acquired nowadays. Your job will be to update a model of the primate visual system I previously developed, such that it accurately reflects the neural computations that take place in the mouse primary and secondary visual areas.
My hope – and expectation – is that this model development will lead to new insights into the computational functions of the various secondary visual areas in rodent cortex. If true, this will likely lead to an important theoretical paper that you will be co-author on. Moreover, as we will be developing this model at the same time that I will be performing experimental recordings, we will be in the unique position to rapidly acquire experimental data we may need to constrain the model parameters.

During this project, you will learn myriad theoretical neuroscience concepts and programming tricks from your daily supervisor (Jorrit Montijn). You will also have the opportunity to observe some experimental recordings. You will be embedded in the group of Alexander Heimel and participate in weekly meetings and seminars.

If you are interested, send an inquiry to Jorrit Montijn (j . montijn at nin . knaw . nl) or use the apply button on this page.

Google Scholar:

Jorrit Montijn 
Alexander Heimel