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PhD position, Spaceflight induced neuroplasticity obtained with MRI - 2019BAPFWETEF240Posted by: University of Antwerp
Posted date: 2019-Jul-16
Last application date: September 20, 2019 Contract: Limited duration (4 year) Occupancy rate: 100% Start date: October 1, 2019
The Lab for Equilibrium Investigations and Aerospace (LEIA) at the University of Antwerp has an open position for a PhD student to analyze MRI images obtained from astronauts who flew to the ISS as well as from other relevant populations, such as pilots and patients with specific vestibular disorders. This multidisciplinary project will be supervised by prof Floris Wuyts, Principal Investigator of the ESA BRAIN-DTI project which constitutes the framework of this PhD topic.
The aim of the project is to apply the most novel analysis methods on MRI images of astronauts obtained before and after their spaceflight, so that structural a well as functional changes can be identified. Voxel and surface based morphometry, diffusion MRI analysis, functional MRI, resting state fMRI are different modalities that have to be used to analyze the images. It is an ongoing project and a considerable amount of the data have already been collected within the ESA BRAIN-DTI project in collaboration with colleagues from the Institute of Biomedical Problems (IBMP) in Moscow (Ru), Ludwig Maximilians University Hospital in Munich (Ger), Coma Science Group in Liege (Be), Translational MRI in Leuven (Be) and Vision Lab in Antwerp (Be). The remaining 4 years are needed to collect the final amount of data and to analyses all data according to the latest developments.
In the first part of the study, different analysis methods will have to be further explored to investigate neuroplasticity in the brain of astronauts. In a second part of the project, the findings from the astronauts will be used to identify appropriate Regions of Interest (ROI’s) that will be studied in patients with specific vestibular disorders to try to identify a possible lack of neuroplasticity, or hampered mechanisms of adaptation.
In the Lab for Equilibrium Investigations and Aerospace (LEIA) which is a continuation of the former group AUREA several topics are treated, but spaceflight and equilibrium have been main topics for the past two decades. Our results on the effect of microgravity on the brain of astronauts can be considered as forefront research.
The working environment is strongly interdisciplinary, and it is essential to combine neuroscience knowledge with engineering and physics skills to optimize the analysis pipeline. The group has a broad range of national and international collaborations. Recent publications can be found by searching on F.L. Wuyts on pubmed or Web of Science.
You love interdisciplinary science, and want to advance the field of space physiology and study further the impact of microgravity on the human CNS. Your skills, creativity and novel solutions will be dedicated to the study of the brain. You like to dig into the complexity of neuroplasticity and combine several different MRI modalities to get an overview of structural and functional characteristics of the brain. You also want to tell the world about your findings with sparkling presentations.
Interested candidates are invited to send a motivation letter, a detailed CV (including followed courses, honours, grades, previous work, programming skills, publications, …) and contact info of two references to Floris.Wuytsuantwerpen.be with subject BRAIN_DTI_PHD.
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