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Rosetrees Trust PhD: Neonatal Neurogenetic Biomarkers of Dyslexia Risk

From Jobs at the University of Cambridge. Published on Mar 15, 2017.

Applications are invited for a 3-year Rosetrees PhD studentship on neonatal neural and genetic biomarkers of dyslexia risk. The studentship will start in October 2017 at the Department of Psychology, University of Cambridge. The successful candidate will conduct research under the supervision of Dr Victoria Leong (http://www.baby-linc.psychol.cam.ac.uk/) and Prof Zoe Kourtzi, in collaboration with Dr Topun Austin.

Dyslexia is a congenital, lifelong disability in language learning that affects up to 10% of individuals worldwide. Genetic models suggest that the dyslexic brain may be 'mis-wired' during fetal development as a result of faulty axonal guidance mechanisms. Mis-wiring disrupts neuronal oscillatory mechanisms in the auditory cortex that support neural processing of speech, leading to inaccurate speech sound representations that map poorly to letter symbols during reading.

We have previously found that neonates with a high (familial) genetic risk for dyslexia show poorer neural oscillatory processing of speech sounds at birth. We have further identified a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in one dyslexia susceptibility gene, ROBO1, that may significantly predict individual differences in the neonatal neural response to speech. The PhD project builds on these findings to assess the long-term developmental outcomes of neonates with low-risk vs high-risk genetic and neural profiles, in relation to the early home language environment. The specific aims of the research project are to:

(1) Understand how ROBO1 (and other dyslexia susceptibility) genotypes interact with the language environment to affect language outcomes in young infants;

(2) Identify key neural or environmental protective factors that confer resilience to high-risk infants who show normative language development despite their high-risk status;

The PhD candidate will conduct a longitudinal assessment of the development trajectory of 50 high-risk and 50 low-risk neonates over their first 1.5 years of life. Each neonate will be assessed at birth, 6, 12 and 18 months to map their brain development and language development in relation to their risk genotype and the quality of their home language environment.

Eligibility and Funding:

Candidates should have a first or upper second class degree in neuroscience, psychology or molecular biology/genetics and meet the University of Cambridge entrance requirements - see: http://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/entry-requirements

Prior experience of working with infants and/or children in experimental settings, and a good understanding of developmental psychology (in particular, early language development) is essential. Experience and knowledge of EEG acquisition and analysis methods would be highly desirable. The successful candidate should also possess good social and communication skills, in order to interact sensitively with expectant/postpartum mothers and their newborn infants.

The successful candidate will receive a fixed stipend of £17,457 per annum for 3 years. No additional support is available for fees.

Candidates from Overseas will be funded at the same rate, and therefore should only apply if they have sufficient additional personal funding to cover the Overseas rate of fees as well as living expenses.

Informal enquiries about the project may be made to Dr Victoria Leong (vvec2@cam.ac.uk)

Application process:

To apply please e-mail (i) a research statement outlining your suitability, why you are interested in pursuing a PhD in this area, your background and research interests, (ii) your CV stating your citizenship and any relevant research experience (iii) copies of your academic transcripts and (iv) contact details for two academic referees (one of whom should be a project supervisor) to Mrs Dawn Ellis (dle31@cam.ac.uk) by Wednesday 5 April 2017. Please add 'Rosetrees Trust PhD Studentship: Neonatal Neurogenetic Biomarkers of Dyslexia Risk' to the subject line of your e-mail.

Shortlisted candidates will be invited to an interview on Tuesday 18th April.

Once the successful applicant is informed of the outcome, they will be required to complete the University's GRADSAF application form, which will need to be submitted by Thursday 27th April.

Please quote reference PJ11706 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

The University values diversity and is committed to equality of opportunity.

The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.

Research Assistant (Fixed Term)

From Jobs at the University of Cambridge. Published on Mar 06, 2017.

Applications are invited for a research assistant post starting from 3 July 2017 until 30 September 2017, to join a research programme with Prof. Trevor Robbins and Dr. Johan Alsiö at the Department of Psychology. The successful applicant will take part in our basic research on the neural basis of reinforcement learning and cognitive flexibility in rodents, with the goal to understand human disorders characterised by inflexible behaviour, e.g. drug addiction and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

The successful candidate will be expected to manage and conduct experiments under supervision by senior researchers. These experiments combine neuropharmacology, chemogenetics, gene silencing, and gene expression profiling with behavioural testing in touchscreen paradigms. Duties include behavioural testing, regulated procedures (to include surgical techniques, systemic injections, microinfusions into the brain, brain stimulation, tissue collection and perfusions), and histological processing of biological material (e.g. cannula placements or expression of transgenes). The post holder will also be expected to contribute to the analysis and interpretation of results and will present their findings at lab meetings.

We are looking for an applicant who has substantial experience with rodent behavioural testing and a keen interest in behavioural neuroscience. A personal licence (PIL) to perform regulated procedures in the UK is required for this position; training in stereotaxic techniques and/or in-vivo microdialysis and electrochemistry would also be valuable. In addition, applicants should have excellent communication skills, be comfortable planning and organising behavioural experiments, and be able to work as part of a team.

If you have a strong background in behavioural neuroscience or neuropharmacology and if you wish to develop your scientific skills further in a collaborative and productive environment, we would like to hear from you.

Informal enquiries can be made to Dr. Johan Alsiö (ja476@cam.ac.uk).

Further information may be downloaded below.

Please note that there is some flexibility with regard to starting date and working hours (e.g. part time) for this post.

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available for up to 3 months from 3 July 2017 until 30 September 2017.

Once an offer of employment has been accepted, the successful candidate will be required to undergo a health assessment and a security check.

To apply online for this vacancy, please click on the 'Apply' button below. This will route you to the University's Web Recruitment System, where you will need to register an account (if you have not already) and log in before completing the online application form.

Please quote reference PJ11604 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

The University values diversity and is committed to equality of opportunity.

The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.

Post doctoral Research Associate/Assistant x 2 (Fixed Term)

From Jobs at the University of Cambridge. Published on Feb 27, 2017.

Two post doctoral Research Associate/Assistant positions in Learning and Brain Plasticity are available to work at the Adaptive Brain Lab (http://www.abg.psychol.cam.ac.uk).

The first position will focus on behavioural and brain imaging studies that will combine high-field (7T) imaging and MEG for investigating the neural mechanisms that mediate learning and brain plasticity in young and older adults. Further interventional approaches (TMS, neuropharmacology) will be employed to test brain connectivity.

The second position will focus on advanced computational modelling of behavioural and multimodal brain imaging data including Bayesian modelling and machine learning approaches.

Research in the lab aims to understand how humans of all ages translate sensory experience into complex decisions and adaptive behaviours by taking into account previous experience and learning. We address this challenge using an interdisciplinary approach that combines behavioural paradigms, movement recording, multimodal brain imaging (MRI, EEG, MEG, TMS) and state-of-the-art computational methods. We apply these techniques to study the young and ageing brain and understand adaptive behaviours across the lifespan.

Applicants should have or be close to obtaining a PhD, and have a strong academic track record, in a relevant area (e.g., Neuroscience, Psychology, Mathematics, Engineering, Computer Science, Physics). Programming skills are highly desirable and experience with computational modeling and/or brain imaging preferable.

The salary range if appointed as a Post doctoral Research Associate is £29,301 - £38,183 per annum and the salary range if appointed as Research Assistant is £25,298 - £29,301 per annum with promotion to Post doctoral Research Associate on attainment of PhD.

Informal enquiries should be directed to Professor Zoe Kourtzi (zk240@cam.ac.uk)

Further details may be downloaded below.

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available for 12 months in the first instance with possible extension to 3 years.

To apply online for this vacancy, please click on the 'Apply' button below. This will route you to the University's Web Recruitment System, where you will need to register an account (if you have not already) and log in before completing the online application form.

Please quote reference PJ11340 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

The University values diversity and is committed to equality of opportunity.

The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.