[pymvpa] Two PhD positions: clinical neuroscience and machine learning

Danilo Bzdok danilobzdok at gmail.com
Wed Apr 20 10:01:07 UTC 2016

Two PhD positions at the intersection between clinical neuroscience
and machine learning

"Statistical-learning approaches to structure and function in schizophrenia"

In an innovative approach, we will investigate the neurobiological
aberrations in schizophrenia that underlie disturbed thinking, speech,
and behavior. Although agnostic to one specific psychological process,
we have a special interest in altered social-affective processes in
schizophrenic individuals because these cognitive skills set human
beings apart from other species. We will use data-driven methods that
formally extracts patterns in large datasets with a minimum of
a-priori assumptions. Completion of this PhD program allows you to
become part of the badly needed new generation of computationally
trained imaging neuroscientists.

What you would work on

- Work on neuroimaging questions in psychiatry that matter with
multivariate statistical tools applicable beyond imaging neuroscience.

- We aim at the characterization of the neurobiology of schizophrenia
neurobiology from the perspective of brain area and network
architectures. We will perform clustering algorithms and network
decomposition for dimensionality reduction. The feature-engineered
data will form the basis for unsupervised structure discovery (e.g.,
MDS, t-SNE), supervised classification (e.g., support vector
machines), brain-behavior analyses (e.g., Lasso/Ridge/ElasticNet
regression analyses), and resting-state connectivity analyses (e.g.,
group-sparse covariance estimation).

- The multi-modal analyses will be performed on structural
(voxel-based morphometry) and functional (resting-state data) from a
Europe-wide datasets (n=~500) from eight different psychiatric

- This position is an excellent opportunity to learn how to combine
clinical neuroscience and recently emerged statistical techniques.

What we expect

- High motivation for inter-disciplinary challenges

- An analytical, problem-solving mindset

- MSc or equivalent in computer science, physics, biomedical
engineering, psychology, medicine or biology (natural-science-related
background is preferred)

- Experience with programming is a big plus (especially in Python)

- Fluent in written and oral English language

What we provide

We provide funding for two three-year PhD position. One position is
available starting from 1st May 2016 and one position is available
starting from 1st July 2016. Applications will be considered until the
position is filled. Payment will correspond to salary grade 13/2 of
the German Collective Bargaining Agreement for the Civil Services (65%
TVL-13, http://bit.ly/1Rf8TjY). The position are funded by the German
Research Foundation (DFG) and the START-Program of the Faculty of
Medicine, RWTH Aachen.

This academic environment offers structured PhD training and close
interdisciplinary interactions in the context of the "International
Research Training Group" with the University of Pennsylvania, USA.


The project will be conducted in collaboration with Parietal group at
Neurospin, France, (Bertrand Thirion) and cognitive neuroscience group
at the Forschungszentrum Jülich, Germany (Simon Eickhoff).


Send CV, motivation letter, and contact details of two academic referees to

Prof. Dr. Dr. Danilo Bzdok

danilo.bzdok at rwth-aachen.de

Department of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, and Psychosomatics
RWTH Aachen University, Germany

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