Vacancies 68105-PhD-position-in-cognitive-affective-and-clinical-neuroscience

  • 36 hours a week
  • Temporary
  • 4 years
  • Date of publication: 15 May 2019
  • Deadline: 10 June 2019
  • Scale 10A: max € 42220 gross per year at full employment (incl. vacation bonus and end of year payments)
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Job description

We invite applications for a PhD project in the field of cognitive, affective, and clinical neurosciences. This position is part of a translational research project investigating dysfunction of stress-hormone systems in PTSD with the aim to develop personalized treatment. The project is embedded in the Cognitive Affective Neuroscience laboratory (PI: Erno Hermans) at Radboud university medical center and the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour in Nijmegen (the Netherlands), in close collaboration with Prof. Dr. Benno Roozendaal (Radboudumc / Donders Institute), Prof. Dr. Robbert-Jan Verkes (Radboudumc / Donders Institute), and Dr. Gert-Jan Hendriks (Radboud University Behavioural Science Institute /ProPersona).

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a strongly debilitating psychiatric disorder characterized by a persistent remembering of the trauma by intrusive flashbacks, vivid memories or recurring dreams. There is a growing understanding that PTSD is a complex syndrome, with innumerable subtypes and variations. Since each subtype may call for a specific targeted therapy, there is a growing need to define subtypes of PTSD on the basis of biological markers. Notably, a large subgroup of PTSD patients exhibits dysregulations in the neuroendocrine stress system. This project proposes an integrated translational approach to investigate whether this dysregulation is directly associated with impairments in safety learning.

Within this translational and interdisciplinary project, the primary tasks of this PhD candidate will be to employ state-of-the-art non-invasive methods (functional MRI, psychophysiology, psychopharmacology) to investigate the association between stress-hormone (re)activity in PTSD, functioning of fear-regulatory neural circuits, and quality of safety learning. The candidate will collaborate closely with researchers who will develop a rodent model of stress-hormone system dysregulation to examine the causality and underlying neural mechanisms of this relationship. The ultimate goal of the project is to establish a proof of concept that stress-hormone dysregulation can serve as a biomarker for selection of mechanistically targeted treatments to improve safety learning.


The ideal candidate will have:
  • A Master’s degree in cognitive neuroscience or an adjacent field (psychological, biological, (bio)medical, or computer sciences);
  • A strong interest for fundamental research in cognitive and affective neurosciences and/or its application to psychopathology;
  • Experience in acquisition and analyses of functional MRI data and/or peripheral psychophysiological data;
  • The capacity to participate in an interdisciplinary, international, and translational research environment;
  • A proactive and goal-directed attitude, good organizational skills, and the ability to finalize a PhD thesis within four years;
  • Fluency in spoken Dutch, and in written and spoken English.
**Candidates who only partially meet this profile are nonetheless strongly encouraged to apply.**


Research environment
The project is embedded in the unique and excellent infrastructure of the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour. The Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging offers three 3 Tesla MRI systems, MR-compatible systems for recording EEG and peripheral psychophysiological measures, a 275-channel MEG system, an EEG-TMS laboratory, and state-of-the-art computational facilities. The Ernst Hahn Institute in Essen (Germany), a partner of the Donders Institute, provides access to a 7 Tesla system. All facilities are fully research-dedicated laboratories with excellent technical support. The Donders Institute furthermore provides a unique and stimulating learning environment for young researchers, including a high-profile graduate school and in-house methodological expert courses. Research into stress and stress-related disorders is an important focus area at Radboud university medical center. Researchers working on this theme jointly organize regular discussion meetings and lectures to promote integration of research conducted within molecular, cellular, systems, behavioral, and clinical neurosciences across campus.

Radboudumc strives to be a leading developer of sustainable, innovative and affordable healthcare to improve the health and wellbeing of people and society in the Netherlands and beyond. This is the core of our mission: To have a significant impact on healthcare. To get a better picture of what this entails, check out our strategy.

Read more about what it means to work at Radboudumc and how you can do your part.

Employment conditions

The intended start date for this position is September 2019, but can be flexible.

Upon commencement of employment we require a certificate of conduct (Verklaring Omtrent het Gedrag, VOG) and there will be, depending on the type of job, a screening based on the provided cv. Radboud university medical center’s HR Department will apply for this certificate on your behalf.

Read more about the Radboudumc employment conditions and what our International Office can do for you when moving to the Netherlands.

Comments and contact information

All additional information about the vacancy can be obtained from Dr. Erno Hermans, +31 (0)24 361 42 37. Use the Apply button to submit your application. 

We request applicants to send a motivation letter explaining their interest and qualifications regarding the position, their prior research/work experience, a CV, and contact information of two professional references.

Please apply before June 10, 2019.
Recruitment agencies are asked not to respond to this job posting.

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