[visionlist] Funded PhD neural plasticity in retinal disorders @ UCL

Dekker, Tessa t.dekker at ucl.ac.uk
Tue Aug 2 17:29:40 -04 2022

Dear all,

I would be grateful if you could circulate this PhD project to relevant students and programs in your institutions.

The Project
We are offering a fulltime, fully funded 3-year PhD studentship to study how retinal disorders affect the development neural structure and visual information processing. This project offers the unique combination of being clinically relevant as well as addressing new questions about neural plasticity mechanisms in severe early onset vision loss.

The PhD student will test a cohort of child patients with a single genetic mutation (CRB1) that can cause a range of retinal dystrophies (including Leber congenital amaurosis and retinitis pigmentosa). Working with a team of experts, the student will develop child-friendly yet sensitive tests of visual function and structure in these children with the aims to unlock new opportunities to investigate how the genotype shapes variable neural development and visual function, improve understanding of prognosis, and generate more reliable outcome metrics for future clinical trials. Techniques will include behavioural testing and various advanced neuroimaging methods, and computational/mathematical modelling approaches (e.g., visual psychophysics, pRF mapping, quantitative MRI microstructural modelling). You will also gain expertise in working with patients and clinically relevant research. You will do this work as part of a larger interdisciplinary team of researchers with expertise in clinical ophthalmology, vision science, and neuroimaging.

The Ideal Candidate
We are looking for PhD candidates with a degree in cognitive neuroscience or equivalent, demonstrable good computational and programming skills (e.g. in MATLAB, R, Python), strong communication skills, and an interest in visual neuroscience and plasticity (all essential criteria). Experience with advanced neuroimaging, psychophysics, and patient-oriented testing are a plus (desired criteria), but training will be provided in all aspects of the work.

The Environment
The PhD supervisors are Prof. Mariya Moosajee and Dr. Tessa Dekker, based across the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, Moorfields Eye Hospital, and the UCL Dept of Experimental Psychology in UCL PaLS. These institutions are located in the heart of London, UK, with vibrant and collaborative communities of faculty, postdoctoral, and graduate researchers. They offer access to high quality scientific resources, including excellent training courses, equipment, and unique patient access via Moorfields Eye Hospital. Our labs are sociable, collaborative, and support flexible working.

Funding and Eligibility
This studentship is funded for 3 years by the Santen SenSyT scheme and includes PhD tuition fees, research costs and an annual salary stipend starting at £24,000. The full studentship (salary stipend and home or international rate tuition fees) is eligible to all nationalities.

How to apply:

Applicants should submit their application by September 3rd by emailing to ioo.pgr at ucl.ac.uk<mailto:ioo.pgr at ucl.ac.uk>, cc'ing hugo.chow-wing-bom.15 at ucl.ac.uk<mailto:hugo.chow-wing-bom.15 at ucl.ac.uk> with the following: Please title your email Santen SenSyT PhD application, and attach (1) your CV, (2) a covering letter outlining motivation and suitability for this project, and (3) contact details for two academic referees who may be contacted by the interview panel if you are shortlisted (reference letters not required at this stage).

Informal enquiries regarding the PhD project should be made to Dr Tessa Dekker - but please email Hugo Chow-Wing-Bom hugo.chow-wing-bom.15 at ucl.ac.uk<mailto:hugo.chow-wing-bom.15 at ucl.ac.uk>  who will coordinate this. Enquiries relating to the application process should be sent to Hazel Croft, Research Degrees Administrator (ioo.pgr at ucl.ac.uk<mailto:ioo.pgr at ucl.ac.uk>). Shortlisted candidates will be contacted for interview.

The successful candidate is expected to start between October 2022 and January 2023

All the best,

Tessa Dekker<https://iris.ucl.ac.uk/iris/browse/profile?upi=TBEKK79>
Associate Professor
Child Vision Lab<https://www.ucl.ac.uk/ioo/research/child-vision-lab/who-we-are>
Experimental Psychology, PaLS & Institute of Ophthalmology
University College London
London, UK
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