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Identification of molecular links between brain and language

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  • Full or part time
    Dr St Pourcain
    Prof Fisher
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About This PhD Project

Project Description

Co-supervisors: Professor Simon Fisher, Professor Tomas Paus

Language abilities can be related to brain structure and function, and this PhD project aims to enhance the understanding of the genetic links between language and communication and their neural counterparts. Analyses will include population-based cohorts with language assessments as well as cohorts or consortia with genetic information on neuro-imaging data (e.g. ENIGMA).

Research objectives include:
• Identification of genetic overlaps between sub-cortical structures and a wide range of language, speech and communication measures
• Exploration of developmental changes in genetic overlaps over time
• Investigation of biological pathways and gene networks contributing to both language and brain function

This project will be co-supervised by Professor Tomas Paus at the Rotman Research Institute, Baycrest and the University of Toronto.

Work environment -

The MPI in Nijmegen is an internationally recognized, leading research institute, with a stimulating environment, excellent facilities and resources. The Language & Genetics Department uses state-of-the-art methods and cutting-edge technologies to trace the connections between genes, neuronal and brain functions, and behaviour. We benefit from close connections with the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, and the Human Genetics Department at Radboud University Medical Centre, and we are key players in several prominent international consortia focused on human neurogenetics.

What we expect from you -

Candidates should have, or shortly expect to obtain, a high quality Research Master’s degree in Genetics/Genomics, Biomedical Sciences, Neurobiology, Genetic Epidemiology, Bioinformatics, Computational Science, Medical Statistics or another relevant field of study. Masters degrees should involve several months of experience and training on a scientific project. Data analysis skills in scripting and handling large datasets will be an advantage. Candidates should have an interest in the genetics of language and brain function and familiarity with research methods in Genetic Epidemiology is desirable.

What we have to offer -

The PhD position is fully funded for 4 years (1.0 fte, starting salary is €2,125 per month). The Language & Genetics department provides in addition fully equipped research facilities, technical support, as well as a conference and travel budget. PhD students in the department participate in the International Max Planck Research School which involves both core and individually chosen coursework to complement the PhD research, and training in soft skills such as writing and presentation.

The Max Planck Society is an equal opportunity employer. Applications from women, people with disabilities and under-represented groups are particularly encouraged. The business of the institute is conducted in English, and candidates should have excellent written and spoken command of this language.

Application process -

Applications should include:

(i) Statement of interest in either one or both of the positions detailing why you are the most suitable candidate for the post
(ii) CV including publication list
(iii) Names, email addresses and contact numbers of three referees who would be willing to provide letters of recommendation

Applications or enquiries should be made to Martina Bernhard (Secretary, Language & Genetics Department).

Email: [email protected]

The deadline for applications is 15 February 2016. Interviews will be held during the week commencing 7 March 2016. The proposed starting date is 1 September 2016 but an earlier start date can be arranged if required.
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