Postdoctoral position at the Institute of Movement Sciences in Marseille, France - Phenomenology of phantom mobility

Country: France;

City: Marseille cedex 09

Vacancy added: 29.07.2019

Employer: Aix-Marseille Université

Resumes due: 15.09.2019

 

The Institute of Movement Sciences (Aix-Marseille University & CNRS, Marseille, France) seeks a motivated postdoctoral researcher to join the project “PhantomTraining: Neuroplasticity studied by multisensory and motor training of the phantom upper limb after amputation” (funded by A*Midex, the Initiative of Excellence of Aix-Marseille Université), under the supervision of Dr. J De Graaf and in collaboration with MySpace Lab in Lausanne (Prof. Serino).

Amputation of a limb leads to a conflict between the structure/function of the body (of which a part disappeared) and the cortical representations of this part of the body. This conflict is associated to a persistent perception of the amputated limb, i.e., a “phantom limb”, appearing in 95% of the amputees. The phantom limb is a unique model to study neuronal plasticity. The original approach of the present project is based on the quantification of the relation between the phenomenology of the phantom limb (motor, multisensory and subjective aspects) and the cortical representations of the disappeared limb. To this aim, we will investigate phenomenological and cortical changes induced by somatosensory and motor training targeting the phantom limb. We will compare behavioral data (extensive interview with the participants on their phantom sensations, quantification of phantom mobility and of the multisensory integration of sensory information of the phantom with visual information surrounding the phantom) and neuroimagery data (high resolution fMRI mapping of the phantom) before and after such training. This study will provide precious insight about the plasticity of cortical body representations, which will have important implications for the use and development of bidirectional prostheses (i.e., allowing fine motor control and providing multisensory feedback).

Position

The selected candidate will mainly work at the Institute of Movement Sciences (ISM UMR 7287) in the AdapJuste team (https://ism.univ-amu.fr/fr/adapJuste). The work will focus on the phenomenology of phantom mobility and its modification after motor training. The candidate’s tasks are:

  • Recording the kinematics and muscular activity of phantom mobility before and after a daily-training period of 2 months for each participant.
  • Supervising the participants at distance during their training period in order to follow the evolution of their phantom sensations and keep them involved in their training.
  • Process the recorded kinematic and electrophysiological data by elaborating and running matlab scripts.
  • Participating to meetings related to the project.

Requirements

  • PhD in integrative neuroscience or bioengineering.
  • Knowledge about the functioning of the central and peripheral nervous system.
  • General knowledge about the reorganization of the central and peripheral nervous system after lesions.
  • Experienced in electrophysiological signal processing (electromyographic signals in particular).
  • Proven experience in matlab programming.
  • Bonus: Skills in human interaction.

Terms of employment

The postdoctoral position has a duration of 18 months. The fellow will be under employment contract of Aix-Marseille Université, and funded by A*Midex. The starting date is January 1st, 2020. The net salary will range between 1980 and 2550 euros/month (gross: 2470 to 3 170 euros/month), depending on qualification and previous experience.

Application procedure

For more information, interested candidates can contact Jozina De Graaf (jozina.de-graaf@univ-amu.fr). Applicants should send their motivation letter, a full CV, a one-page summary of research background and interests, and two letters of reference supporting their candidature. Please send applications before the 15th of September 2019 for a final decision before the end of October 2019.

 
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