PhD Position in Cognition
Radboud University Faculty of Social Sciences

PhD Candidate at the Donders Centre for Cognition: 'How Do Anatomy, Computation and Function Line Up in the Parietal Cortex?'

  • 40 hours per week
  • Maximum gross monthly salary: € 2,972
  • Faculty of Social Sciences
  • Required background: Research University Degree
  • Duration of the contract: 4 years
  • Application deadline: 10 July 2020

We are looking for

The posterior parietal cortex occupies a disproportionally large part of the brain in humans and is involved in a variety of high-level cognitive functions. However, there is as yet no overarching model explaining the principles of its organisation. Importantly, there is currently even less understanding of the relationship between anatomy, computation and function in this part of the brain. The goal of this proposal is to use a variety of novel approaches to develop such an understanding.

The PhD project consists of a series of experiments to study the human parietal cortex. You will use state-of-the-art computational anatomy techniques to study the organisation of the parietal cortex using a variety of neuroimaging data modalities (cf. Blazquez Freches et al., in press; Mars et al., 2018b). You will then develop an experimental paradigm to test how the anatomical organisation of the parietal cortex lines up with different functions that can be localised in the parietal cortex, based on recent proposals of the host lab (Medendorp and Heed, 2019). Finally, you will integrate these results into a comprehensive model of the parietal cortex.

This work follows on our earlier work comparing parietal cortex organisation across species (Mars et al., 2011; Vijayakumar et al., 2019) and fits in with our programme to understand how human association cortex contributes to the unique behavioural abilities of humans (Mars et al., 2017; Mars et al., 2018a).

Key references:

- Blazques Freches et al., in press, doi 10.1007/s00429-020-02047-0
- Mars et al., 2011, doi 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.5102-10.2011
- Mars et al., 2017, doi 10.1016/B978-0-12-804042-3.00118-4
- Mars et al., 2018a, doi 10.1016/j.cobeha.2017.11.001
- Mars et al., 2018b, doi 10.1016/j.tics.2018.08.009
- Medendorp and Heed, 2019, doi 10.1016/j.pneurobio.2019.101691
- Vijayakumar et al., 2019, doi 10.1007/s00429-018-1791-1

We ask

  • MSc in Biology, Neuroscience, Bioinformatics, or a related field.
  • Technical proficiency and an affinity for coding.
  • Ability to collaborate with co-researchers even when physically separated (Skype, Slack, Mattermost).
  • Interest in brain anatomy and brain structure-function relationships.
  • Independent problem-solving abilities.
  • Good knowledge of statistics and quantitative methods would be an advantage.
  • An interest in comparative and evolutionary neuroscience would be an advantage.

We are

The Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour is a world-class interfaculty research centre that houses more than 700 researchers devoted to understanding the mechanistic underpinnings of the human mind. Research at the Donders Institute is focused around four themes: 1. Language and communication, 2. Perception, action and control, 3. Plasticity and memory, 4. Neural computation and neurotechnology. Excellent, state-of-the-art research facilities are available for the broad range of neuroscience research that is being conducted at the Donders Institute. The Donders Institute has been assessed by an international evaluation committee as excellent and recognised as a 'very stimulating environment for top researchers, as well as for young talent'. The Donders Institute fosters a collaborative, multidisciplinary, supportive research environment with a diverse international staff. English is the lingua franca at the Institute. 

You will be working at the Cogntive Neuroecology Lab, headed by Dr Rogier Mars. This multidisciplinary research group combines comparative and cognitive neuroscience to find out how brain organisation differs across species and how it influences the behavioural abilities of higher animals, especially humans. We use a variety of neuroimaging techniques, including functional MRI and diffusion MRI, as well as computational modelling to answer these questions. The lab is split between the Donders Institute at the Radboud University Nijmegen and the Welcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging at the University of Oxford. You will be expected to collaborate with colleagues in both locations.

The second supervisor is Prof. Pieter Medendorp, head of the Sensorimotor lab at the Donders Institute.. His focus is on the computational and functional basis of sensorimotor processing, using imaging, psychophysics and computational modelling.

Radboud University

We want to get the best out of science, others and ourselves. Why? Because this is what the world around us desperately needs. Leading research and education make an indispensable contribution to a healthy, free world with equal opportunities for all. This is what unites the more than 22,000 students and 5,000 employees at Radboud University. And this requires even more talent and collaboration. You have a part to play!

We offer

  • Employment: 40 hours per week.
  • The gross starting salary amounts to €2,325 per month, and will increase to €2,972 in the fourth year (salary scale P).
  • In addition to the salary: an 8% holiday allowance and an 8.3% end-of-year bonus.
  • Duration of the contract: You will be appointed for an initial period of 18 months, after which your performance will be evaluated. If the evaluation is positive, the contract will be extended by 2.5 years.
  • The intended start date is 1 September 2020.
  • You will be able to make use of our Dual Career Service: our Dual Career Officer will assist with family-related support, such as child care, and help your partner prepare for the local labour market and with finding an occupation.
  • You will be part of the Donders Graduate School for Cognitive Neuroscience.
  • Are you interested in our excellent employment conditions?

Would you like more information?

For more information about this vacancy, please contact:
Rogier Mars, Principal Investigator

Pieter Medendorp, Professor

Apply directly

Please address your application to Rogier Mars and submit it, using the application button, no later than 10 July 2020, 23:59 Amsterdam Time Zone.   

Your application should include the following attachments:

  • Letter of motivation.
  • CV.

We drafted this vacancy to find and hire our new colleague ourselves. Recruitment agencies are kindly requested to refrain from responding.

If you apply for this position please say you saw it on Socioloxy


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