RIsk CDT - Adolescent cannabis use: mapping risk factors and neurodevelopmental trajectories using a large-scale cohort with multimodal imaging, behavioral, cognitive and genetic data
The proposed PhD project has 3 key aims:
First, the PhD student will employ advanced computational/statistical methods to estimate which (combination of) factors predate cannabis use onset, using multimodal neuroimaging (functional/structural connectivity), psychosocial, cognitive and genetic data.
Second, the PhD student will map neurodevelopmental trajectories linked to adolescent cannabis use – with a focus on structural/functional connectivity.
Third, the PhD student will evaluate the link between distinct cannabinoid compounds (with neurotoxic/psychotogenic and neuroprotective/anxiolytic properties), with neural (connectivity) and psychosocial/cognitive outcomes.
To address these aims, the PhD student will work with data from the IMAGEN http://www.kcl.ac.uk/ioppn/depts/mrc/research/imagen.aspx the first multicentre functional and structural genetic-neuroimaging study of a cohort of 2000 +14 year old adolescents
followed-up for five years with comprehensive cognitive, behavioural, clinical and neuroimaging data.
You will work with and have access to a multidisciplinary team with high-level expertise in neuroimaging, engineering, data modeling, neuroscience, addiction and mental health and genetics. You will have opportunities of training in high-level neuroimaging methods in specialized research centers.
YOUR PHD TASKS/RESPONSIBILITIES
Your PhD will require the successful completion of a Master of Research, attendance to a highly structured PhD Training Programme and submission of a PhD thesis.
Your PhD will focus on:
- Identifying multiple factors that predate/confer risk of cannabis use onset using multimodal imaging (functional/structural connectivity), psychosocial, cognitive and genetic data;
- Map trajectories of neurodevelopment in adolescent cannabis users relative to non-users.
- Disseminate study results via publication in high quality neuroscientific journals.
WHO ARE WE LOOKING FOR?
- Highly motivated, with a strong interest in addiction, psychopathology and neurodevelopment
- Excellent English written and verbal communications skills in English
- Experience with statistical and computer programming skills (e.g., scripting, Matlab, LINUX).
- Experience in neuroimaging / biostatistics data analysis
- Experience in writing publications in peer reviewed scientific journals
- A numerate background – e.g., a Master's degree in computer science, mathematics, engineering, medical image analysis or related discipline.
This PhD studentship is funded by the EPSRC & ESRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Risk and Uncertainty at the University of Liverpool.
The PhD post sits between the Institute of Risk and Uncertainty – a world class education and research centre with state of the art simulation and technology facilities, dedicated to helping people and organisations create a safer world - and the Department of Experimental Psychology, Institute of Psychology Health and Society (IPHS), a research-led academic Institute with the vision to make a difference to the health of societies, locally and globally. IPHS hosts >200 world-leading experts in a range of disciplines, from experimental psychology through to medicine, dentistry and social policy.
For more information on the project please contact:
Dr Valentina Lorenzetti firstname.lastname@example.org tel: +44 0151 794 5657
Dr Marco De Angelis Marco.De-Angelis@liverpool.ac.uk tel: +44 0151 794 9892
Please submit your application online via https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/applying/online/