We are seeking a highly motivated post-doctoral researcher to work on a 5-year Medical Research Council-funded research program studying the psychobiological mechanisms in Functional (Dissociative) Neurological Disorder (FND, formerly known as Conversion Disorder, including dissociative / psychogenic non-epileptic convulsions). This is an exciting opportunity to contribute to this important and growing area of research at the interface of academic and clinical neuroscience, namely psychology, psychiatry and neurology. You will work within a multidisciplinary team of experts, supervised by the principal investigator, Dr Susannah Pick. The project will involve the development of innovative methodological approaches to study FND mechanisms, including novel functional neuroimaging (fMRI) paradigms, behavioral / cognitive experiments, psychophysiological and distance measurement methods (i.e. , smartphone, portable).
The incumbent will contribute to a range of research activities including: development of study protocols, obtaining regulatory approvals, patient and public engagement (PPI) activities, development of research materials and measures, piloting procedures, recruiting participants with NDF and common mental health. symptoms of NHS and community settings, data collection, management and analysis, and dissemination of results to academic and non-academic audiences.
Career development support and mentoring will be provided throughout, including formal and informal training opportunities, an annual budget to attend national / international conferences and networking events, as well as co-op opportunities. supervise research projects of MSc and BSc students and develop your own research plans.
The ideal candidate will have a PhD in cognitive / affective neuroscience, experimental psychology or a closely related field, and a keen interest in developing a research career in neuropsychiatry / neuropsychology and / or research exploring mental-physical health and mind-brain-body interactions. Experience working closely with people with psychiatric and / or neurological symptoms is desirable, as is previous experience in functional neuroimaging (fMRI), psychophysiological and / or qualitative and PPI research.
The post will be based in the Department of Psychological Medicine, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College London. The role will also involve working collaboratively with colleagues from other IoPPN departments, including the Center for Neuroimaging Sciences and Biostatistics and Health Informatics, in addition to clinicians from the Neurology and Neuropsychiatry services within South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and other recruitment sites (St George’s, University College London).
This position will be offered on a full-time fixed-term contract (1.0 FTE, 35 hours / week) for 5 years, subject to a satisfactory trial period of 6 months.
• Development of study protocol (s).
• Obtain the necessary regulatory / ethical approvals.
• Develop and work closely with advisory groups of patients and caregivers.
• Lead patient and public engagement activities.
• Undertake literature reviews as needed for the project.
• Design and development of research materials and measures (eg fMRI and cognitive experimental paradigms).
• Carrying out pilot studies / validation.
• Recruit participants from the NHS and community settings.
• Liaise closely with the clinical neurology and neuropsychiatry teams within the South London & Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and the NHS collaborating sites (St George’s, University College Hospital).
• Data collection, management and analysis, including functional neuroimaging, behavioral and psychophysiological data.
• Dissemination of results to academic and non-academic audiences (eg writing articles for publication, presenting research results at conferences, clinical meetings, patient groups, sharing results via social media, etc.) .
• Contribution to the supervision of young researchers and students (BSc / MSc / PhD).
• Participation in regular meetings with the PI and other members of the research team.
• Other administrative tasks related to research, as required.
• The above list of responsibilities may not be exhaustive, and the incumbent will be required to undertake the duties and responsibilities reasonably expected in the context and classification of the position.
Skills, knowledge and experience
• Undergraduate degree (minimum 2: 1) in a relevant discipline (eg, experimental psychology, neuroscience).
• Doctorate in a relevant field (cognitive neuropsychology, cognitive / affective neurosciences).
• Strong research design, data analysis and programming skills.
• Proficiency in the conduct of systematic documentary analyzes.
• Experience in disseminating research results to expert and non-expert audiences.
• Understanding of data protection guidelines and ethical principles in research.
• Willingness to undertake the training required to carry out the research.
• Excellent interpersonal, communication and organizational skills.
• The ability to work both independently and as part of a team, and the willingness to seek advice when needed.
• Experience working with clinical populations, including those with psychiatric and / or neurological symptoms.
• Experience in performing functional neuroimaging (fMRI) and / or psychophysiological research and data analysis.
• Experience in conducting qualitative research and / or research on patient and public participation.
Informal inquiries about the role can be directed to Dr Susannah Pick ([email protected]).
This position is subject to authorization from the Disclosure and Prohibition and Occupational Health Service.
Functional neurological disorder; Dissociative crises; Post-doctoral research