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Identification of molecular links between brain and language

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  • Full or part time
    Dr B St Pourcain
    Prof S. Fisher
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted

About This PhD Project

Project Description

Language makes us human and different from all other species and our abilities to master language are heritable and interlinked with brain structure and function. This PhD project aims to investigate the genetic relationships between language and communication and their neural counterparts. This will include a wide range of language, speech and communication measures as assessed in population-based cohorts as well as sub-cortical structures and other neuroimaging data as investigated in large consortia.

For this project, we seek an exceptional student with a talent and inclination for first class research as part of a PhD studentship in Genetic Epidemiology at the Max Planck Institute (MPI) for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen, the Netherlands. The host research group, led by Dr Beate St Pourcain, investigates the genetic basis of human communication and language in large population-based cohorts and is embedded within the Department of Language & Genetics at the MPI, Nijmegen.

The PhD position is fully funded for 4 years (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 also participate in the International Max Planck Research School.

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 why you are interested in the post and a good match 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 30 January 2017. Interviews will be held on the 17 February 2017. The proposed starting date for the post is 1 September 2017, but an earlier start date can be arranged if required.

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