Physical models of whole-brain gene coexpression patterns


This research will develop simple physical models to explain patterns of whole-brain gene expression observed across mouse neurodevelopment.


Dr Ben Fulcher

Research Location

School of Physics

Program Type



The mechanisms through which the brain develops to yield representations of our ability to perceive and understand the world around us remains an open question. If similar principles of brain organization are found across species, this may indicate a principle of conservation and a step towards identifying physical principles underlying the complex structure and function of the brain. Our recent work has shown that gene expression across the brain displays a characteristic spatial structure in the nematode work, C. elegans, mouse, and human. In this project, the student will develop simple physical models of brain growth that can explain the real-world structure of molecular brain gradients through mouse development.

Additional Information

Excellent facilities are available to carry out all aspects of the work, including access to computing resources and large relevant datasets on gene expression across species and through development. There is much flexibility to adjust the specific project to the interests of the student, who should have a strong interest in data science (with a quantitative background in e.g., physics, mathematics, statistics, engineering, or computer science). Top-up funding is available for the highest quality of applicants, with additional funding available to support travel to present research results at national and international conferences or to visit research collaborators. 

HDR Inherent Requirements

In addition to the academic requirements set out in the Science Postgraduate Handbook, you may be required to satisfy a number of inherent requirements to complete this degree. Example of inherent requirement may include:

- Confidential disclosure and registration of a disability that may hinder your performance in your degree;
- Confidential disclosure of a pre-existing or current medical condition that may hinder your performance in your degree (e.g. heart disease, pace-maker, significant immune suppression, diabetes, vertigo, etc.);
- Ability to perform independently and/or with minimal supervision;
- Ability to undertake certain physical tasks (e.g. heavy lifting);
- Ability to undertake observatory, sensory and communication tasks;
- Ability to spend time at remote sites (e.g. One Tree Island, Narrabri and Camden);
- Ability to work in confined spaces or at heights;
- Ability to operate heavy machinery (e.g. farming equipment);
- Hold or acquire an Australian driver’s licence;
- Hold a current scuba diving license;
- Hold a current Working with Children Check;
- Meet initial and ongoing immunisation requirements (e.g. Q-Fever, Vaccinia virus, Hepatitis, etc.)

You must consult with your nominated supervisor regarding any identified inherent requirements before completing your application.

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biological physics, Neuroscience, neurodevelopment, computational neuroscience, Statistics, data science, complex systems, Applied mathematics, molecular gradients, gene expression

Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is: 2387

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