PhD position Project 1: From Behavior to Cell in Autism Sensory Processing (BECAUSE)

ASD is a neurodevelopmental disorder with a >1% prevalence, characterized by impairments in social skills and flexibility and by a complex aetiological heterogeneity. The neurobiological mechanisms underlying ASD are still poorly understood. Recently, sensory sensitivities ...

15 dagen geleden

Arbeidsvoorwaarden

Standplaats:
De Boelelaan, Amsterdam, Noord-Holland
Dienstverband:
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
40 uur
Salarisindicatie:
€ 2222 - € 2840 per maand
Opleidingsniveau:
WO

Functieomschrijving

ASD is a neurodevelopmental disorder with a >1% prevalence, characterized by impairments in social skills and flexibility and by a complex aetiological heterogeneity. The neurobiological mechanisms underlying ASD are still poorly understood. Recently, sensory sensitivities, such as extreme sensitivity to light, sound, or touch, were added to the ASD diagnostic criteria (DSM5) as negative and prevalent symptoms. These symptoms are now considered “a critical cornerstone for characterizing and understanding ASD”. A new network theory explains the sensory sensitivity problems in ASD by a disturbed excitation/inhibition (E/I) balance in synaptic networks in the brain. The current project aims to test this theory using behavioral, neuropsychological, neurophysiological and cellular analyses of sensory processing deficits in ASD. The project for which we now seek applicants is the 1st part (Project 1). Project 1 will focus on the clinical, neuropsychological and neurophysiological aspects of sensory processing in ASD. The 2nd part (Project 2) will start one year later, and will focus on the cellular aspects of sensory processing: of the case and control data of Project 1 we will select extreme low and high sensitive individuals that donate a skin biopt for pluripotent stem cell research.

The aim of this project is to study the neurobiological mechanisms underlying sensory processing problems in adults with ASD, and the relation between sensory processing problems and clinical profiles. The project will be executed within the framework of the Netherlands Autism Register (NAR, www.nederlandsautismeregister.nl), which is a large register of children and adults with ASD (N=2000). The PhD student will collect and analyze data from 80 adult participants with ASD and 80 controls on sensory processing with behavioral questionnaires, and with EEG assessments during psychophysiological tests to measure sensory processing. Based on the outcomes the PhD student will develop an online tool to collect sensory processing data on a larger scale in the complete NAR sample.

Functie-eisen

Suitable candidates: We are looking for Dutch speaking candidates that hold, or will soon hold, a (Research) Master degree in Psychology, (computational) Neuroscience, Artificial Intelligence, or related fields, with a strong interest in ASD research, social skills, skills in programming and statistical analyses, and a motivation to pursue a career in science, preferably with hands-on experience in EEG recording.

Conditions

The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel, and amounts to € 2.222 in the first year up to € 2.840 gross per month in the fourth year (based on a full-time employment). You can find information about our excellent fringe benefits of employment at www.workingatvu.nl.

Additional information

Please send your CV and cover letter to Johan Meester. For questions about Project 1 please contact Dr. Begeer (S.Begeer@vu.nl, before August 12, 2017) or Dr. Polderman (tinca.polderman@vu.nl), after August 12 2017).

For general questions please contact Prof. Dr. Verhage (M.Verhage@vu.nl) or Dr. Cornelisse (l.n.cornelisse@vu.nl). Deadline: August 17, 2017. Start date: October 1st 2017.

Please mention the vacancy number in the e-mail header.

Any other correspondence in response to this advertisement will not be dealt with.

Bedrijfsomschrijving

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU) is a leading, innovative and growing university that is at the heart of society and actively contributes to new developments in teaching and research. Our university has ten faculties, and provides work for over 4,500 staff and scientific education for more than 23,000 students.

The Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences (FBM) at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is unique in the wide field of behavioural and health sciences for combining the disciplines of psychology, education theory and human movement sciences. The faculty contributes to a better understanding of the way behaviour and movement are caused and can be influenced so as to promote physical and mental health and improve performance. This project is the 1st part of a larger study that aims to increase our understanding of causes and consequences of sensory processing problems in adults with autism spectrum disorders (ASD).

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