Post-Doctoral Position in In Utero Neuroimaging and Fetal Cognition

Updated: 9 days ago
Department of Psychology, Neurolinguistics
Post-Doctoral Position in In Utero Neuroimaging and Fetal Cognition
80-100 %

The neurolinguistics group in the department of psychology investigates the neural basis of language and, thanks to an exciting new SNSF-funded project, prenatal cerebral features of vocal learning. This position is offered in collaboration with PD Dr. Andras Jakab of the Fetal and Neonatal Imaging Team, Center for MR-Research at the University Children's Hospital Zürich. In addition to affiliation in the Department of Psychology and the University Children's Hospital, the successful candidate will benefit from an inspiring multidisciplinary research environment thanks to close contact with the NCCR Evolving Language, the Zurich Centre for Linguistics and the Zurich Centre for Neuroscience.
Your responsibilities
The successful candidate will be responsible for the implementation of a series of investigations that focus on the prenatal development of auditory-motor mappings, using existing datasets and will be responsible for developing and carrying out an in utero functional imaging experiment into fetal responses to human speech sounds. In addition to analytical and experimental work, 20% (flexible) will be given over to methods development, with a focus on developing approaches to dealing with in utero artefacts, such as those arising from fetal movement. Supervision of master's students, interns and assistants on the project is expected. Teaching opportunities in the field neurolinguistics available if desired.
The role involves analyses of the developing fetal structural and functional connectome, with a focus on the audiomotor architecture relevant to speech processing and production, using existing datasets. Alongside the development and application of analytical approaches for characterising the relevant structural and functional networks, the successful candidate will have responsibility for the implementation of an in utero functional imaging project to explore fetal brain responses to human vocal sounds. Furthermore, the position will involve an active contribution to the development of methods to overcome challenges specific to fetal imaging. Under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Alexis Hervais-Adelman (Neurolinguistics), PD. Dr. Andras Jakab (Fetal and Neonatal Imaging, in collaboration with Prof. Dr. Volker Dellwo (Phonetics), the project provides the opportunity to be part of an inspiring and highly-interdisciplinary research enterprise that aims to make a novel contribution to our understanding of the earliest stages of human speech development.
Your profile
You have a strong track record in fetal MRI, and an interest in developing solutions to the difficulties of in utero MRI. You are motivated to use your expertise to execute longitudinal analyses of the developing functional and structural connectome. You would enjoy the challenge of carrying out and analysing an in utero functional MRI study. You have excellent communication skills and can work well with collaborators from multiple disciplines. You are able to communicate scientific goals to members of the public, including potential volunteers.
  • PhD in a relevant discipline (e.g. Biomedical imaging, Development Cognitive Neuroscience)
  • Experience in medical image processing, such as structural or functional MRI data analysis, image segmentation, registration, timeseries analysis
  • Programming skills in Python, experience in using machine learning toolkits (such as Tensorflow, PyTorch, Scikit learn)
  • Excellent written and spoken English
  • A proactive and goal-directed attitude, good organizational skills

Due to the need for frictionless communication with study participants, fluency in (Swiss-)German is highly desirable. Candidates with appropriate qualifications without fluent German may nevertheless be considered.
What we offer
We offer a three-year post-doc position with salary according to SNF guidelines. A stimulating and diverse research project and the opportunity to contribute actively to groundbreaking research in the field of human language. Diversity and inclusion are core values at the University of Zurich.
Place of work
Department of Psychology, University of Zurich, Universität Zürich-Nord, Binzmühlestrasse 14, 8050 Zürich, Switzerland
Start of employment
Desired start to employment: immediately or by arrangement. Applications will be considered until the position is filled.
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