PhD Position - Predicting Efficacy of neuromodulation in epilepsy

Within the Clinical Neurophysiology group from the University of Twente, in collaboration with the Medisch Spectrum Twente and SEIN Zwolle,  we have available a PhD position for a project entitled: Predicting Efficacy of Neuromodulation in Epilepsy (PREDYct).

Vagus nerve stimulation is a treatment option in pharmacoresistant epilepsy patients. However, about 30-50% of patients do not respond to this treatment. Our group focuses on understanding brain systems of epilepsy patients and the impact of neuromodulation therapy.  Primary research objectives are to improve the selection of patients who may benefit from neuromodulation.

This project aims to identify novel biomarkers to predict the success of vagus nerve stimulation by combining a novel innovative method of recording ultra-long (up to more than a year) EEG, state-of the-art functional neuroimaging (fMRI, DTI) and high density EEG.

This project is a collaboration between the Neurocenter Medisch Spectrum Twente (neurology, neurosurgery and clinical neurophysiology), the epilepsy center SEIN in Zwolle and the  CNPH group of the University of Twente. This project is funded by the Dutch epilepsy foundation, EpilepsyNL.

YOUR PROFILE

  • We are looking for a highly motivated researcher with e.g. an MSc degree in Technical Medicine or Biomedical Engineering.
  • A very strong interest in clinical neuroscience, signal analysis, imaging and machine learning is essential.
  • Candidates need to have good organizing and social skills as he/she will be involved in patient recruitment, implantation of the EEG electrode and clinical follow-up of the patients.
  • Since communication with the patients is an essential part of this PhD position, speaking Dutch is a requirement.
  • The candidate must like to work in a hospital environment with patients and medical specialists, as well as in the interdisciplinary and internationally oriented environment of the university.

OUR OFFER

  • We offer a scientific education on a multidisciplinary subject. The assignment is for four years, with a go/no go assessment at the end of the first year.
  • Fulltime position for four years.
  • Medisch Spectrum Twente is a large teaching hospital; SEIN is a specialized epilepsy center. You will be involved in patient recruitment, surgery, acquisition of EEG and MRI scans and clinical follow up.
  • The university offers a dynamic ecosystem with enthusiastic colleagues in a stimulating scientific environment.
  • The PhD salary is € 2.541,- in the first year and increases to € 3.247,- in the fourth year.
  • A holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary and a year-end bonus of 8.3%.
  • The number of holiday hours for full-time employment is 232 hours per calendar year.
  • A personal development program within the Twente Graduate School.

INFORMATION AND APPLICATION

For more information, please contact: Prof.dr.ir M.J.A.M. van Putten, neurologist (m.j.a.m.vanputten@utwente.nl).

Please submit your application before Feb 13, including:

  • A cover letter outlining your specific interest, qualifications, and motivation to apply for this position.
  • A detailed CV including your list of publications, patents, and conferences.
  • Transcripts from your Bachelor and Master degrees.

ABOUT THE DEPARTMENT

Research in the Clinical Neurophysiology group CNPH is at the interface of neuroscience, neurophysiology and clinical neurology, focusing on cerebral ischemia and epilepsy. In addition to improve understanding of pathophysiology, we aim to develop novel diagnostic tools and treatments. Our research is truly translational:  from the UT to the clinic and back.

The EEG is a key clinical and research tool. EEG signal analysis includes various machine learning techniques to improve diagnostic values and (bedside) application. Applied EEG studies are complemented by biophysical modeling and simulation for improved understanding of underlying neuronal dynamics and prediction of treatment effects. In addition, we use in vitro models consisting of cultured neurons (from rodent or human induced pluripotent stem cells) on multi-electrode arrays to study basic neuronal and synaptic functioning, identify treatment targets, and screen treatments.