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Job id: 067811. Salary: £41,386 per annum, including London Weighting Allowance.

Posted: 24 May 2023. Closing date: 07 June 2023.

Business unit: IoPPN. Department: Neuroimaging.

Contact details: Professor Paul Allen.

Location: Denmark Hill. Category: Research.

Job description

Role purpose:

To facilitate outstanding clinical neuroimaging research in psychosis and schizophrenia populations as part of the “Psychosis MRI Shared Database (Psy-ShareD) funded by the UK Medical Research Council

The aim of this project is to combine high quality, valuable, underutilised pre-existing ‘legacy’ MRI T1 datasets, with linked clinical and cognitive data into one free-to-access resource.

The post holder will be under the guidance of Prof Paul Allen and part of a broad team of experts in brain imaging, cognition, data modelling, and psychiatric disorders. This team is working in collaboration with a number of UK and international sites that will each provide MRI, and linked clinical and cognitive data to the Psy-ShareD database.   Subsequently, the post holder will be adept in the data skills and harmonisation, curation, and analysis of complex multidimensional datasets, have excellent communication skills and be able to work within strict deadlines.

In addition, the post holder will be expected to:

  • Lead on the development transfer and harmonisation of several international MRI datasets.
  • Oversee the setting-up phase of the Psy-ShareD database in accordance with the project timelines.
  • Provide project progress updates to academic colleagues and the wider Psy-ShareD team.
  • Support colleagues in the Psy-ShareD team including research assistants and lab placement students.
  • Develop own interests in the fields of computational psychiatry, cognitive science, and brain imaging and undertake a proof of concept analysis using the Psy-ShareD database that addresses a current knowledge gap in the psychosis/schizophrenia MRI literature.

This post will be offered on a fixed-term contract until 03-Apr-2025

This is a full-time post - 100% full time equivalent

Key responsibilities

  • Key responsibilities and objectives of the job.   
  • Work with the Psy-ShareD team and collaborators to oversee data transfer via BitBox.
  • Support software and script development of novel tools that aid data anonymisation and transfer.
  • Harmonise and curate datasets including MRI T1, clinical, and cognitive data.  
  • Set up the Psy-ShareD database using KCL FigShare or a similar host system.
  • Lead on a proof of concept analysis using Psy-ShareD data.
  • Work as a conscientious and committed member within a broad team of KCL experts, KCL admin support and industry collaborators.
  • Regularly present updates and research findings to academic colleagues and the broader project team.
  • Work in an efficient manner to ensure progress accords with the project timelines and milestones.
  • Liaise with the administrative team to support the project. 
  • Supporting the team’s research assistant and placement students in data analysis, visualisation, and scientific writing. 
  • Contribute to publications arising from this project.
  • Be committed to personal career development.   

The above list of responsibilities may not be exhaustive, and the post holder will be required to undertake such tasks and responsibilities as may reasonably be expected within the scope and grading of the post.

Skills, knowledge, and experience

Essential criteria

  1. PhD in a relevant subject area or PhD in a relevant subject area near completion.  
  2. Experience of conducting brain-imaging research (MRI) with clinical populations.
  3. Experience in the analysis of brain imaging, clinical and cognitive data.
  4. Experience of designing and developing web-based databases.  
  5. Strong grasp of univariate and multivariate statistical analyses.
  6. Strong programming skills (e.g., Python, Javascript, HTML, Matlab). 
  7. Understanding of using computer clusters and parallel computing to process large datasets.
  8. Understanding of, and commitment to, an academic career. 
  9. Publications in peer reviewed journals.  

Desirable criteria

  1. Experience of teaching including lecturing, running computer workshops and/or supporting students in day-to-day research activities such as data analysis, code debugging and scientific writing.  
  2. Experience of presenting research at academic conferences and/or in other mediums including media outlets.
  3. Excellent presentation skills.      
  4. Prizes or distinctions to reflect academic/research excellence.

Please note that this is a PhD level role but candidates who have submitted their thesis and are awaiting award of their PhDs will be considered. In these circumstances the appointment will be made at Grade 5, spine point 30 with the title of Research Assistant. Upon confirmation of the award of the PhD, the job title will become Research Associate and the salary will increase to Grade 6.

Further information

We require a postdoctoral scientist with a broad range of expert skills in imaging, IT, software development and image analysis. This may well require an applicant with the equivalent of many year’s pre or postdoctoral expertise.  

We ask all candidates to submit a copy of their CV, and a supporting statement, detailing how they meet the essential criteria listed in the advert. If we receive a strong field of candidates, we may use the desirable criteria to choose our final shortlist, so please include your evidence against these where possible