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We are looking for a PhD student at the MPI/ Donders Institute


Supervisory Team

Genetic architecture of the human language network

This project aims to investigate the intricate relationship between genetics and the connectional anatomy of the language network in the human brain. To do so, we will employ advanced neuroimaging techniques to map neural circuits implicated in language processing, characterize interindividual differences in their properties, and associate these with variation at the DNA level, using a range of resources, including cohorts that are publicly available (e.g. the UK Biobank) and in-house (e.g. our Language in Interaction dataset).

Findings will be integrated with (i) prior genome-wide association studies of language-related phenotypes, (ii) data on spatiotemporal gene expression in the human brain, (iii) evolutionary/comparative genomic signatures. Ultimately, this project seeks to enhance our understanding of the biological underpinnings of human language, with far-reaching implications for both clinical practice and fundamental neuroscience.

Recommended Readings

Essentials

  • A finished (or soon-to-be finished) Masters* degree in a field with clear relevance for neuroimaging and/or genetic analyses. *see also FAQ #09

  • Skills in basic programming.

  • Creative problem-solving attitude.

  • Willingness to learn new methods through guidance from colleagues, on-line resources, and training courses as needed.

  • Critical, careful and responsible approach to scientific research, placing emphasis on robustness and reproducibility of results.

  • Ability to clearly communicate research plans and outcomes to others, in spoken and written form.

  • Interest in bridging scientific fields and working together with researchers from a wide range of backgrounds.

Desirables

  • For imagers, previous experience of working with relevant databases (e.g. HCP, UK Biobank, EBrains), applying diffusion-weighted imaging/ tractography experience, and/or embedding tools (e.g. UMAP).

  • For geneticists, experience/familiarity with the standard bioinformatics tools used for analysing human genomics datasets.

  • Advanced programming skills.

  • Knowledge of structural/connectional brain anatomy and foundations of human biology.


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