[visionlist] Mutliple post-doctoral positions at NYU Abu Dhabi - Center for Brain and Health

Bas Rokers rokers at nyu.edu
Sat May 6 02:08:40 -04 2023

The Center for Brain and Health and the ASPIRE Precision Medicine Research Institute at New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) seek to recruit postdoctoral associates for two projects: 

1) Linking Retinal, Neural, and Perceptual Deficits in Visual Disorders

(PI: Bas Rokers, Rokers Vision Laboratory)

Individuals in the UAE are at substantial risk for perceptual deficits due in part to one of the highest diabetes rates in the world. About 10% of diabetic patients suffer severe vision loss and another 2% are completely blind 15 years post-diagnosis. Thus, understanding precisely how diabetes leads to visual deficits is a question with key regional relevance.

Importantly, diabetic vision loss is not fully explained by retinal damage alone. Instead it is likely that microstructural damage in the brain as well as the eye contribute. Since early risk prediction and timely intervention can mitigate vision loss, it is critical that we fully understand the underlying cause(s). This project aims to identify biomarkers in the eye and brain that explain vision loss, building on our previously-developed method linking clinical, neural and behavioral data (Allen et al., 2018; Miller et al., 2019; Pedersini et al., 2023). We combine ophthalmological, neuroimaging and behavioral data, and incorporate deep learning methods to facilitate biomarker discovery and enhance predictive power. As a postdoctoral associate you will join amultidisciplinary research team including experts at NYUAD and Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi with a demonstrated track record in vision science, neuro-imaging, neuro-ophthalmology and deep learning. 

2) Using Advanced Imaging-derived Biomarkers to Predict Health Outcomes 

(PI: Bas Rokers, Rokers Vision Laboratory)

Neurological problems, such as stroke, are a likely consequence of obesity, diabetes, MS, and cardiovascular disease. Since these conditions are prevalent in the UAE, identifying the factors that predict and mitigate the risk of stroke early is critical to local health. To this end, NYUAD recently initiated the first large epidemiological study in the UAE – the UAE Healthy Future Study (UAE-HFS), a prospective cohort study of 20,000 UAE nationals aged 18- 40 years which seeks to determine how health is affected by lifestyle, environment, and genes. While these risk factors will be important in understanding long-term health, it is not yet clear how physiological data, such as neuro-imaging can advance our understanding of health outcomes. 

This project seeks to address this critical gap in our knowledge. A key limitation of previous work has been a focus on individual imaging modalities (e.g., fMRI, diffusion imaging) at the exclusion of combining information across modalities. Our long-term objective is to develop a “phenotypic fingerprint” from multimodal imaging data in healthy controls to be used as an early predictor of adverse neurologic events. The overarching aim of this project, which represents the first step in this objective, seeks to develop and validate this pipeline. 

Our approach is to recruit healthy control subjects and patients through collaborations with Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi to develop and test the “phenotypic fingerprint” method. This approach is inspired by large ongoing studies including the UK Biobank and the Human Connectome Project, but with a focus on the local population, which present a unique genetic makeup, and regionally-relevant disorders. As a postdoctoral associate you will join a multidisciplinar research team with expertise in neuro-imaging (Rokers, Abdullah) and experience applying multimodal imaging to health-related issues and public health (Ali, Cho). 

The positions are funded for two years with the possibility of renewal. Required expertise includes strong knowledge of sensory neuroscience and expertise in at least one of the imaging methodologies involved in the project (OCT-A, structural MRI, fMRI, dMRI, ASL). For a competitive application at the postdoctoral level, candidates should demonstrate experience in leading imaging studies, as shown by publications in international scientific journals. The successful candidates will work in a multidisciplinary Center environment with world-class research infrastructure, consisting of PhD-level scientists, graduate students and undergraduate students.

The terms of employment are extremely competitive and include housing and educational subsidies for children. Applications will be accepted immediately and candidates will be considered until the positions arefilled. Interested applicants are encouraged to informally contact the PI with any questions. For formal consideration, applicants should submit a cover letter, curriculum vitae, statement of research interests, expected date of availability, and contact information for at least 2 letters of recommendation to prof. Bas Rokers (rokers at nyu.edu <mailto:rokers at nyu.edu>).

New York University has established itself as a Global Network University, a multi-site, organically connected network encompassing key global cities and idea capitals. The Brain and Health Group at NYUAD is rapidly growing. Faculty at NYUAD collaborate with faculty at NYU in New York, NYU Shanghai, and from other top universities worldwide. 


Director Imaging Facility, Director Center for Brain and Health
Associate Professor, New York University Abu Dhabi
Global Network Associate Professor - New York University

A2.107 - Computational Research Building

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