REANNOUNCEMENT: Postdoc: Biomechanics of Vocal Behaviour in Rodents

Updated: about 1 month ago
Deadline: 22 Dec 2022

Job description:
We seek postdoctoral fellows to study motor control and the biomechanics of sound production in songbirds and rodents. The positions will be part of an interdisciplinary, international consortium consisting of three nodes: the Vocal Neuromechanics Lab, Department of Biology at the University of Southern Denmark (SDU, Odense, Denmark), the Sober Lab at Emory University (Atlanta, USA) and the Complex Flow Modeling and Simulation Lab at the Rochester Institute of Technology (USA). 

The open positions are located in Odense, Denmark, but all applicants will receive mentorship from and (post-pandemic) travel between all three research nodes.  

The positions are funded by the Novo Nordisk Foundation (Denmark) as part of the Interdisciplinary Synergy Programme along with the National Institutes of Health (USA). They are available as of February 2023, or until filled, for a two-year period. Application deadline: 22 December 2022.

Although the physics of voice production is described in humans, experimental difficulties prevent systematic investigation of voice control and associated diseases. Consequently, we lack physics-based causal models connecting neural activity to sounds produced. In contrast, in songbirds and rodents - the best animal models for speech acquisition and neuro-psychiatric communicative dysfunctions - we can probe the neural circuits controlling vocal behaviour, but lack insight in how their activity is transformed into sound by their vocal organs. In this interdisciplinary project, we will use state-of-the-art techniques from neuroscience, physiology, engineering and biomechanics and integrate physics-based, computational models with novel experimental paradigms to causally link neural activity to sound production in songbirds and rodents.

Preferred qualifications
We are looking for applicants with:
•  a PhD in bio-imaging, biomechanics, engineering, neuroscience, or a related field
•  excellent written and oral English language communication skills.
Other experiences, such as signal analysis, and/or programming (C++, Matlab, or equivalent) present a distinct advantage.

We seek scholars with one of the following distinct profiles, but possibly also other types or researchers.
1.    Experience in biomechanics. We will use combined in vitro and ex vivo approaches studying effects of muscle recruitment on sound production. Experimental techniques: high-speed imaging, 3D motion capture, muscle mechanics, kinematic analysis, mechanical tissue properties and microscopy.
2.    Experience in micro-surgical experimental procedures. Experience with EMG implantation or other muscle (or nerve) surgery is ideal, but any kind of micro-surgical experience is a strong asset.

Our research
The Vocal Neuromechanics Lab uses a combination of experimental and computational approaches to study motor control and physical mechanisms of sound production in the vocal vertebrates. We use and develop methods from biomechanics, electro-physiology, acoustics, and behaviour at different levels of organization (cellular, whole organ, in vivo).

The Sober Lab investigates how the brain controls complex behaviours and improves motor output through practice. We use songbird and rodent species to investigate how networks of neurons and muscle fibres control vocal and forelimb behaviour, respectively. To do so, we combine behavioural manipulations, neuro-physiological and muscle (EMG) recordings, and computational approaches.

Complex Flow Modeling and Simulation Lab focuses on modelling complex flow phenomena using high-fidelity immersed boundary based computational method incorporating massive parallel computing. Current research interests include complex biomedical, physiological and biological flows with complex, moving boundaries and flow structure interaction as well as renewable energy applications.

Please contact Professor Coen Elemans ( ) for more information.

Application, salary etc.
The successful applicant will be employed in accordance with the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and AC (the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations). Please check links for more information on salary and taxation .

The application must include the following:
• A curriculum vitae including information on previous employment.
• A full list of publications stating the scientific publications on which the applicant wishes to rely.

Shortlisting may be used in the assessment process.

Incomplete applications and applications received after the deadline will neither be considered nor evaluated.

To qualify you must have passed a PhD or equivalent. Applications will be assessed by an expert assessor/committee. Applicants will be informed of their assessment by the university.

The University wishes our staff to reflect the diversity of society and thus welcomes applications from all qualified candidates regardless of personal background.

Applications must be submitted electronically using the link "Apply online". Attached files must be in Adobe PDF or Word format. Each box can only contain a single file of max. 10 Mb. We strongly recommend that you read How to apply before you apply.

Further information for international applicants about entering and working in Denmark.

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