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Monday, 14 March 2022 10:05

[EXPIRED] Postdoc in mapping the microarchitecture of the human cortex using computational modeling and ultra-high field MRI

We are seeking candidates for a postdoc project combining computational modeling and high-resolution structural MRI scans to study and map the lateral prefrontal cortex. You will be a part of the “Mapping the lateral prefrontal cortex: improved parcellation and laminar models” project supported by the Lundbeck Foundation under the LF&NIH BRAIN Initiative funding scheme. The project is headed by Oula Puonti, together with Prof. Axel Thielscher and Assoc. Prof. Esben Thade Petersen, at the Danish Research Centre for Magnetic Resonance (DRCMR), in tight collaboration with Prof. Bruce Fischl and Dr. Juan Eugenio Iglesias at the Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging (Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School).  

Summary of the project: 
This project focuses on a specific cortical area called the lateral prefrontal cortex, which takes part in many executive functions such as planning and short-term memory. The aim is to build models of its microstructure and the cortical layers using post-mortem brain samples, and to apply these models to MRI scans to detect the layers in the living human brain. Being able to study the detailed structure of the prefrontal cortex using MRI will help to track normal development across the lifespan, uncover changes related to diseases, design more effective non-invasive interventions, and pave the way for modeling the neuronal activity using non-invasive measurements.

Your role: 
Your role will be to optimize and collect high-resolution structural data using the 7T Philips Achieva scanner at the DRCMR, develop computational models of cortical layers, and integrate these into the FreeSurfer (https://surfer.nmr.mgh.harvard.edu/) and SimNIBS (simnibs.org) software packages. In your day-to-day work you will be doing scanning, sequence optimization as well as programming image analysis software tools. The specific focus of the project can be changed to emphasize more the MRI methods or the computational side depending on the experience of the candidate. The project team has a longstanding expertise in optimizing MRI sequences and in developing software for biophysical modeling and structural analysis of MRI data, so if you are interested in learning how to control the gradients of an MRI scanner or learning the latest tricks in Python here is your chance.

Essential skills & experience:

  • PhD in biomedical/electrical engineering, physics, computer science, neuroscience, or related field
  • Strong written and communication skills. The project will be a team effort and you will be one of the main contributors.
  • RExperience in computational analysis of MRI scans/biomedical data.
  • Programming skills. Most of the programming will be in Python, but experience in Matlab, C++ and other languages is a plus. 

Advantageous skills & experience: 

  • Experience in MRI methods development and scanning.
  • Knowledge of standard software tools, such as FreeSurfer, FSL and/or SPM, for analyzing neuroimaging data.

Working at DRCMR
You will be working at the Danish Research Centre for Magnetic Resonance (www.drcmr.dk) based at Copenhagen University Hospital Hvidovre. You will have the opportunity to collaborate with engineers, neurologists, physicists, psychologists, and interact with the other groups at DRCMR. The project will involve a close collaboration with the Laboratory for Computational Neuroimaging at the Athinoula A. Martinos Center (Prof. Fischl and Dr. Iglesias), the home of the widely used FreeSurfer software suite. The DRCMR is a leading research center for biomedical MRI in Europe. Approximately 75 researchers from a diverse range of disciplines are currently pursuing basic and clinically applied research. The DRCMR is embedded in the Center for Functional and Diagnostic Imaging and Research, a large diagnostic imaging department including all biomedical imaging modalities at the Copenhagen University Hospital Amager and Hvidovre, Copenhagen, Denmark. DRCMR has a state-of-the-art MR-research infrastructure enabling translational research, which includes a pre-clinical 7T MR scanner, six whole-body MR scanners (one 7T, three 3T and two 1.5T scanners) and a High-Performance Computer cluster dedicated for neuroimaging data. The DRCMR has pre-clinical labs, a neuropsychology laboratory, an EEG laboratory, and two laboratories for precision brain circuit stimulation. It is situated ~25mins cycle ride from central Copenhagen, a city consistently ranked one of the highest in the world for quality of life.

Application deadline:  15 April 2022

Starting date: 1 June 2022 (or soon thereafter)

Salary and terms of Employment 
You will be employed for a period of 36 months at the Danish Research Centre for Magnetic Resonance. Salary, pension and terms of employment are in accordance with the agreement between the Danish Regions (Danske Regioner) and the relevant professional organization. The salary depends on background education and seniority. Further supplements can be negotiated. Note that candidates coming from abroad may be eligible for tax reductions. The position is open for candidates of all nationalities. We see diversity as a strength and encourage all candidates regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, disabilities or religion to apply.

Application details: 
Applications should include a cover letter, CV, list of publications & research outputs, together with the names of two references.

Applications have to be submitted online. Click HERE.

For further information regarding the position please contact Oula Puonti ()