Research Associate - Longitudinal Developmental Trajectories
This is an exciting opportunity for an outstanding postdoctoral researcher with interest in the clinical and neurocognitive profile of autism and neurodevelopmental conditions to join a world class team of experts in neurodevelopment whose research spans from preschool age to adulthood, with international partnerships and funding from AIMS-2-TRIALS (http://aims-2-trials.eu), EU CANDY (candy-project.eu), R2D2-MH (www.r2d2-mh.eu/), SFARI, industry, charity, and Great Ormond Street Hospital.
The role will involve:
- Leading on the clinical characterisation of the AIMS-2-TRIALS Longitudinal European Autism Project (LEAP); which comprises a large sample of 700+ autistic and non-autistic children, adolescents and adults that have been assessed at 3 time points over 10 years; the successful candidate will focus specifically on the third assessment wave (LEAP-wave3 ) and examine stability vs changes in the presentation of autistic core features and mental health features over the course of 10 years
- Identifying prognostic markers and mechanistic pathways that help to predict the trajectory of clinical outcomes (based on cognitive profile, brain structure/ function [as measured by EEG, structural and functional MRI, DTI, immune markers and/ or genetics] and/ or
- Examining social, emotional, cognitive and sensory profiles (using novel touch screen tasks ) as prognostic markers and mechanisms for developmental outcomes in 500 children with a diagnosis of autism, ADHD, ID or epilepsy in the first European longitudinal, Preschool Brain Imaging and Behaviour Project (PIP).
The successful candidate will be part of a multi-disciplinary team, which offers excellent opportunities for career development and includes locally at KCL a vibrant group of PhD students, RAs and postdocs, as well as international collaborators with experts in EEG, MRI, neuroinflammatory analyses, and genomics; a European Early Career Researcher Network and collaborations with Autism Representatives (A-Reps, including autistic people and parents of autistic people) who contribute to projects with lived experience. Training/support will be provided for career development; e.g. preparation of your own grants/fellowships and developing an independent research area.
This post will be offered on a full-time, fixed term contract for 2 years.
- To take the lead on the clinical characterisation of the LEAP wave 3, which includes assessments of autistic core features, common mental health features (anxiety, depression), adaptive behaviour, quality of life, adverse life events, intervention history, family psychiatric history and others
- To use developmental trajectories modelling to examine individual changes in clinical/biological/cognitive profiles over three time points
- To examine biological (and social) markers and mechanisms that predict clinical prognosis – the specific focus of this project will be dependent on the candidates interest and expertise
- To help validate the first battery of touch screen tests assessing social, emotional, motivational, cognitive and sensory processing in preschoolers with neurodevelopmental conditions
- Work as part of an international team, collaborating with experts across data modalities including clinical phenotyping, EEG and eye tracking, wearable technologies, genetics, brain imaging etc.
- To contribute to the preparation of project progress reports and ensure that project milestones and deliverables are on time – and that scientific findings are being maximally exploited.
- To integrate with the wider Institute and research networks/ collaborators.
- Plan and prioritise a varied workload to meet deadlines in an efficient and effective manner.
The above list of resp**onsibilities 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
1. PhD awarded (or submitted) in a research based field of relevance to autism/ neurodevelopment.
2. Advanced knowledge of autism, neurodevelopmental conditions, particularly with respect to clinical measures
3. Advanced knowledge of neurocognitive tests used in neurodevelopmental research
4. Competence in quantitative research methodologies and statistical analysis, particularly in relation to longitudinal data, such as developmental trajectories modelling
5. Proven ability to use relevant statistical analysis packages (e.g., R, Stata, MPlus, SPSS).
6. Proven track record of writing for peer-reviewed journals commensurate with level of career.
7. Good understanding of appropriate measures and methods for assessing longitudinal developmental trajectories and candidate mechanistic underpinnings of these.
8. Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
9. Excellent organisational and time management skills, with the ability to plan and prioritise own workload to meet project targets.
1. Experience with large datasets.
2. Experience of networking with scientific teams across multiple sites/labs involving both scientific and administrative coordination and collaboration.
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.
This post is subject to Disclosure and Barring Service and Occupational Health clearance.