Student Project: Development and validation of brain imaging paradigms

Neuroimaging research in humans offers a unique opportunity to determine how different aspects of brain function relate to individual differences in personality, behavior and risk for psychiatric illness. Currently, the Neurobiology Research Unit (NRU, applies this unique technology to understand how aspects of brain function are shaped by serotonin neurotransmission, a key neuromodulator of individual differences in brain function, personality, risk for affective disorders and responsiveness to related treatment methods. We are now recruiting motivated young students who are interested in participating in this exciting neuroimaging research.

Functional neuroimaging with fMRI offers the opportunity to evaluate how specific areas of the brain respond to a particular task or stimulus. For example, the presentation of emotional faces can evoke responses from brain areas like the amygdala and medial prefrontal cortex, which are critically involved in processing emotionally salient information. Although individual tasks can provide detailed information about processing certain types of information, acquiring neuroimaging data from different tasks that focus on different aspects of brain function provides complementary pieces of information that might fit together into a more informative whole. We are looking for motivated and interested students to join in a project aimed at developing, implementing, evaluating and validating functional neuroimaging paradigms in humans. This evaluation will provide a critical foundation for the collection of informative neuroimaging markers in planned research projects. For the student, this will provide an ideal opportunity to learn about fMRI as a tool and its diverse applications in measuring brain function. Taken together, the student’s responsibilities in this project will include:

1) Development of neuroimaging paradigms.

2) Recruitment of participants including communication with participants, booking fMRI scan times and appointments for other aspects of data collection (e.g., neuropsychological testing).

3) Collection, pre-processing and analysis of fMRI data. This includes evaluating behavioral effects, task-related brain function and functional connectivity in individual datasets and across cohorts.

The student is expected to work full time and the position is paid: 120.000 over 12 months. Start date: September 1 (the start of the fall semester).

Application deadline: May 1.  2015.

Prior experience with neuroimaging research is beneficial but not necessary. In addition to training provided by experienced staff members and project supervisors, there will be an opportunity to attend international training courses. Please contact Dr. Patrick Fisher ( if you would like to become involved in this exciting translational research project.

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