Post-Doctoral Research Associate
We are seeking a highly motivated post-doctoral scientist to work on a 5-year Medical Research Council funded programme of research investigating psychobiological mechanisms in functional (dissociative) neurological disorder (FND, previously known as conversion disorder, including dissociative/psychogenic non-epileptic seizures). This is an exciting opportunity to contribute to this important and rapidly expanding research area at the interface of academic and clinical neurosciences, 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 developing innovative methodological approaches to study FND mechanisms, including novel functional neuroimaging (fMRI) paradigms, behavioural/cognitive experiments, psychophysiological and remote (i.e., smartphone, wearable) measurement methods.
The post-holder will contribute to a range of research activities, including: development of study protocols, obtaining regulatory approvals, patient and public involvement (PPI) activities, developing research materials and measures, piloting procedures, recruiting participants with FND and common mental health symptoms from NHS and community settings, data collection, management and analysis, and dissemination of findings to both 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 opportunities to co-supervise MSc and BSc student research projects and develop your own research plans.
The ideal candidate will have a PhD in cognitive/affective neuroscience, experimental psychology or a closely related area, 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 of working closely with individuals experiencing psychiatric and/or neurological symptoms is desirable, as is previous functional neuroimaging (fMRI), psychophysiological and/or qualitative and PPI research experience.
The post will be based in the Department of Psychological Medicine, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King’s College London. The role will also involve working collaboratively with colleagues from other IoPPN departments including the Centre for Neuroimaging Sciences and Biostatistics and Health Informatics, in addition to clinicians from the neurology and neuropsychiatry services within the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and other recruitment sites (St George’s, University College London).
This post will be offered on a fixed-term, full-time (1.0FTE, 35 hours/week) contract for 5 years, subject to a satisfactory probation period of 6 months.
•Development of study protocol(s).
•Obtaining necessary regulatory/ethical approvals.
•Developing and working closely with patient and carer advisory groups.
• Leading on patient and public involvement activities.
• Undertaking literature reviews as required for the project.
• Design and development of research materials and measures (e.g., fMRI and cognitive experimental paradigms).
•Conducting pilot/validation studies.
•Recruiting participants from both NHS and community settings.
•Liaising closely with clinical neurology and neuropsychiatry teams within South London & Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and collaborating NHS sites (St George’s, University College Hospital).
•Data collection, management and analysis, including functional neuroimaging, behavioural and psychophysiological data.
•Dissemination of findings to academic and non-academic audiences (e.g., writing articles for publication, presenting research findings at conferences, clinical meetings, patient groups, sharing findings via social media, etc).
•Contribution to supervision of junior researchers and students (BSc/MSc/PhD).
•Participation in regular meetings with the PI and other members of the research team.
•Other administrative duties relating to the research, as required.
•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
• Undergraduate degree (minimum 2:1) in relevant discipline (e.g., experimental psychology, neuroscience).
• PhD in a relevant subject (cognitive neuropsychology, cognitive/affective neuroscience).
• Strong research design, data analysis and programming skills.
• Proficiency in conducting systematic literature reviews.
• Experience of disseminating research findings to both expert and non-expert audiences.
• Understanding of data protection guidelines and ethical principles in research.
• Willingness to undertake training as required for successful completion of the research.
• Excellent interpersonal, communication and organisational skills.
• The ability to work both independently and as a part of a team, and willing to seek guidance when needed.
• Experience of working with clinical populations, including those with psychiatric and/or neurological symptoms.
• Experience of conducting functional neuroimaging (fMRI), and/or psychophysiological research and data analyses.
• Experience of conducting qualitative research and/or patient and public involvement research.
Informal enquiries about the role can be directed to Dr Susannah Pick (firstname.lastname@example.org).
This post is subject to Disclosure and Barring Service and Occupational Health clearance.
Functional neurological disorder; Dissociative seizures; Post-doctoral research