Célia Benquet

Célia Benquet

PhD student

Mathis Lab, EPFL

ELLIS Society

Biography

I am a first-year PhD student in computational neuroscience 🧠 at the Mathis lab of Adaptive Motor Control (PI Prof. Mackenzie Mathis) as part of the ELLIS PhD program. I work on understanding how the brain represents external features in its environment and constructs internal models to generalize and extract the relevant information from it 🧩. I have a strong interest in investigating the dynamics 💫 taking place during the formation of such internal representation while learning a task. To do so, I will relate motor control 💪 and vision 👀 by exploring the processes at play in active sensing.

More generally, with the development of powerful recording tools 📡 such as Neuropixels, neuroscientists can find relevant structure in the data, at the neural population level. I am interested in bringing the appropriate computational and mathematical methods to the field, by adapting theories from topological algebra, graphs or dynamical systems.

Download my resumé

Interests
  • Computational Neurosciences
  • Artificial & neural intelligence
  • Representation learning
  • Dynamical systems
  • Motor control, vision & learning
Education
  • PhD in Electrical Engineering, Present

    EPFL

  • MSc in Computational Neurosciences, 2022

    EPFL

  • BSc in Life Science Engineering, 2019

    EPFL

Experience

 
 
 
 
 
Mathis Lab, EPFL
PhD student
May 2023 – Present Geneva, Switzerland
  • Working on representation and adaptive learning in biological and artificial networks.
  • Part of the European Laboratory for Learning and Intelligent Systems (ELLIS) PhD program.
 
 
 
 
 
Mathis Lab, EPFL
Research Software Engineer
Nov 2022 – Apr 2023 Geneva, Switzerland

Implementation of new functionalities to CEBRA, a dimensionality reduction tool for neural data, using contrastive learning (Nature, 2023).

  • Joint modeling of auxiliary and time-series data code development and extensions.
  • Maintenance of the existing code.
  • Building data management & inference pipelines for models and code.
 
 
 
 
 
Uchida lab, Harvard University
Visiting Graduate Student
Feb 2022 – Aug 2022 Cambridge, MA, US
Neural basis of belief state computation in the brain using ML/RL models. Data consist in activity of multiple neurons while animals are performing a behavioral task. Leading my own independent research agenda and corresponding investigations.
 
 
 
 
 
RDS (Rhythm Diagnostic Systems)
R&D Engineer
Aug 2021 – Feb 2022 Strasbourg, France
Normality models to detect noises and anomalies in clinical physiologic signals (ECG and PPG). Data mining, AI/ML models, Riemannian geometry. Part of an AGILE work-environment (JIRA, Bitbucket). Participation in the engineering life-cycle of the product.
 
 
 
 
 
Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)
Student Research Assistant
Jan 2020 – Jul 2021 Lausanne, Switzerland

Semester projets in diverse laboratories of the School of Life Sciences:

  • Mathis Laboratory of Adaptative Motor Control - Discrete Representation of Behaviors in a multi-agent dataset.
  • Herzog Lab - Laboratory of Psychophysics - Modeling of Serial Dependency in Visual Perception.
  • Gräff Lab - Laboratory of Neuroepigenetics - Functional Mapping of Remote fear memory extinction.
 
 
 
 
 
University of Cambridge
Summer Research Student
Aug 2019 – Sep 2019 Cambridge, UK
Easy-to-use accessible Matlab-tool to map freezing and vocalizing behaviors when fear or anxiety in rats from experimental video recordings to facilitate behavioral analysis.

Skills

Python

PyTorch, ML libraries

Neurosciences

Learning and decision-making

Programming

Matlab, Java, C++, SQL

ML/DL
Teamwork
Academic Writing

Awards

EPFL-WISH
EPFL-WISH Foundation Fellowship
The EPFL-WISH (Women in Science and Humanities) rewards EPFL best female students and support them in their Master’s Thesis abroad.

Projects

Towards the neural basis of belief state computation in the brain
Uchida Lab, Harvard University - 6 months - 100% - Master’s Thesis
Towards the neural basis of belief state computation in the brain
Development of Signal Quality Indices (SQIs) for physiological data
RDS (Rhythm Diagnostic Systems) - 6 months - 100% - Internship
Development of Signal Quality Indices (SQIs) for physiological data
Discrete representation of Behaviors in a multi-agent dataset
Mathis Lab, EPFL - 6 months - 20% - Semester Project
Discrete representation of Behaviors in a multi-agent dataset
Functional Mapping of Remote fear memory extinction
Gräff Lab, EPFL - 6 months - 20% - Semester Project
Functional Mapping of Remote fear memory extinction

Teaching

 
 
 
 
 
EPFL
Basic C++ and Algorithms
EPFL
Feb 2019 – Jul 2020

Teaching assistant for first-year Bachelor’s students in the course of Prof. Jamila Sam and Barbara Jobstmann. Both in person and remotly. This included:

  • Follow-up on courses, answering questions and deepening certain theoretical notions.
  • Leading the excercises sessions, orienting students on difficult questions.
  • Answering on Piazza forum / Zoom chat, keeping students motivated even remotly.
 
 
 
 
 
EPFL
Complex and vectorial analysis
EPFL
Feb 2019 – Jul 2020

Teaching assistant for second-year Bachelor’s students. Both in person and remotly. This included:

  • Follow-up on courses, answering questions and deepening certain theoretical notions.
  • Leading the excercises sessions, orienting students on difficult questions.
  • Answering on Piazza forum / Zoom chat, keeping students motivated even remotly.
 
 
 
 
 
EPFL
Thermodynamics and Relativity
EPFL
Feb 2017 – Jul 2019

Teaching assistant for first-year Bachelor’s students in the course of Prof. Ivo Furno. Both in person and remotly. This included:

  • Follow-up on courses, answering questions and deepening certain theoretical notions.
  • Leading the excercises sessions, orienting students on difficult questions.
  • Correcting mock-exams and presenting the solutions to the student on white board.
  • Answering on Piazza forum / Zoom chat, keeping students motivated even remotly.