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Tuesday, 06 September 2022 10:00

Postdoc/PhD Position in the Biophysical Modeling of Brain Stimulation

Are you interested in developing and applying novel biophysical models and computer methods to understand and optimize the complex effects which brain stimulation has on nerve cells? Are you eager to work in a dynamic international research project where you will contribute to a major open-source software platform? Do you thrive in multi-disciplinary environments where you closely interact with collaborators and support them in establishing your methods in their research studies? If yes, you should send us your application.

Non-invasive transcranial brain stimulation (TBS) methods are increasingly used for the treatment of mental health indications. For example, over the last decade, transcranial magnetic stimulation was cleared by the FDA for the treatment of depression, obsessive compulsive disorder and smoking addiction. Further extensions to new health indications and stimulation methods are expected to arise in the future. Despite these successes, TBS interventions still have limitations that hamper their widespread use. A major challenge is the variability of the therapeutic response between individuals, and the lack of understanding of the underlying causes of the variability.

In this NIH-funded project, the Danish Research Centre for Magnetic Resonance (DRCMR) will closely collaborate with Duke University to establish new methods for high-fidelity simulations of how nerve cells and cell populations are engaged by the stimulation, both in general and within an individual patient. We aim to apply these tools to gain a deeper insight into the mechanisms of TBS and by that enable a rational analysis and planning of the stimulation dose - in turn improving the therapeutic efficacy of TBS. We will ensure the broad dissemination of our results and methods by extending our successful open-source SimNIBS platform (www.simnibs.org) to establish NeuroSimNIBS.

Your tasks:

  • Develop new approaches for efficient high-fidelity neural simulations that integrate highly detailed models of the individual anatomy with fine-grained neural models.
  • Validate the new computational models by comparison with experimental data.
  • Collaborate with colleagues at DRCMR and Duke University to integrate your methods into the NeuroSimNIBS platform.
  • Contribute to the general code basis and data structures of NeuroSimNIBS.
  • Engage in knowledge dissemination and publication of results in international, recognized scientific journals.

Your profile:

You should be a motivated international-minded team player and have:

  • A PhD or MSc degree in Computer Science, Biophysics, Biomedical Engineering or corresponding qualifications. While a PhD degree is preferred, highly qualified applicants with a MSc degree are strongly encouraged to apply.
  • Knowledge in numerical methods for solving partial differential equations (FEM, BEM, FDM) and related meshing approaches.
  • Knowledge in computational models of neuron dynamics and networks of neurons (NEURON, NEST, Brian).
  • Strong coding skills, in particular in Python
  • Be familiar with software development projects
  • Fluency in English writing and scientific communication
  • Independent working and thinking but also integrate with and contribute to the research team and larger project.

About us

The project will be carried out at the DRCMR, which is a leading research centre for biomedical MRI in Europe (www.drcmr.dk). Our mission is to triangulate MR physics and basic physiology from preclinical to clinical research. Approximately 75 researchers from a diverse range of disciplines are currently pursuing basic and clinically applied MR research and its validation with a focus on structural, functional, and metabolic MRI of the human brain and its disorders. 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 Hvidovre.

The DRCMR has a state-of-the-art research infrastructure for human medical imaging, which includes six whole-body MR scanners (one 7T, three 3T and two 1.5T scanners), a High-Performance Computer cluster and several state-of-the-art laboratories for non-invasive brain stimulation.

The Neurophysics group is a cross-disciplinary research team that works both at DRCMR and at the Technical University of Denmark. This setting gives us unique opportunities to translate cutting-edge methodological research into relevant and novel biomedical applications. Our vision is to transform transcranial brain stimulation into effective medical treatments. Personalization based on medical imaging data plays a key role in that endeavor.

Your position

Candidates with a PhD degree will be employed for a postdoc period of initially 2 years with good possibility for extension. Candidates with a MSc degree can be enrolled as PhD student at the Technical University of Denmark for a period of 3 years. Employment will be at the DRCMR or the Technical University of Denmark where he/she will be part of the Neurophysics Group (www.drcmr.dk/neurophysics) led by Professor Axel Thielscher.

Salary and Terms of Employment

Salary, pension and terms of employment are based on the collective agreements with the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. The salary depends on background education and seniority. Further, supplements can be negotiated. Note that candidates coming from abroad with a PhD degree may be eligible for tax reductions. The position is open for candidates of all nationalities. We expect you to start on December 1st, 2022 or soon thereafter.

We see diversity as a strength and encourage all persons regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, disabilities or religion to apply.

Applications should include a cover letter, CV and list of publications together with the names of three references. Applications must be submitted online through the RegionH job portal - click HERE.

Application deadline: September 30, 2022 at 23:59 CET

For further information regarding the position please contact Professor Axel Thielscher