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Research Fellow in ETHEREAL Project

Employer
UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHAMPTON
Location
Southampton, United Kingdom
Salary
£34,980 to £42,978 per annum
Closing date
20 Jun 2024

Digital Health & Biomedical Engineering

Location: Highfield Campus
Salary: £34,980 to £42,978 per annum
Full Time Fixed Term until 31/12/2025
Closing Date:
Thursday 20 June 2024
Interview Date: To be confirmed
Reference: 2767224FP

Autistic adolescents have 3 - 6 times higher risks compared to typical adolescents to develop Mental Health Disorders (MHD). The aim of the European Commission and UKRI funded ETHEREAL project is to develop an AI tool that will help them to reduce that risk.

Recent research established a central role played by epigenetic-genetic-metabolomic interaction processes in determining mental health throughout the life particularly in genetically predisposed individuals. These findings lead to the following hypothesis and aims of ETHEREAL:

Hypothesis: Quantitative modelling of the Epigenetic – Genetic/metabolomic – Mental health (EGM) cascades will identify 1) the precise environmental factors causally responsible for transition of mental state of an autistic adolescent to MHD, and 2) their possible control mechanisms, and thereby 3) will provide a set of formal neurobiologically informed selection criteria of the most appropriate adolescent-centric evidence based intervention in autistic adolescents.

Vision: Designing an ecosystem to prevent MHD in adolescents with ASD by 1) empowering them to self-control their personal environmental risk factors whilst, 2) accessing proper evidence based  interventions seamlessly in their “Personal Natural Environment” (PNE) improving their Quality of Life and independent living.

Aim: Quantitative characterisation of the EGM cascades and its integration into a personalised, flexible, single service delivery model for seamless access to care service in the PNE of an autistic adolescent empowering them to take preventive actions against MHDs. This will be done through the following four activities:

  1. Identification of the environmental factors in the PNE of an autistic adolescent which instigate transition of their “mental health” to MHD (Model 1).
  2. Quantitative modelling of the EGM process chain in autistic adolescents for designing control strategies based on their PNE, historical and current states (Model 2).
  3. Integration of the Models 1 and 2 in the form of a Personalized Digital Nurse (PDN) mobile app, that will empower autistic adolescents to self-control the epigenetic influence of the factors present in their PNE.
  4. Integration of the PDN with their PNE and the community care services and evaluation of the complete system informing the design of a personalized service delivery model (Model 3) based on Implementation Science principles for rapid uptake.

We are seeking highly motivated individuals who already have a PhD degree or are about to submit/have submitted their doctoral thesis to join ETHEREAL project to work on the Model 1 and 2. You should have worked in the area of dynamic system modelling with knowledge of signal processing and machine learning as all three areas are essential to achieve the aims. You should have a proven track record in at least one of these areas and are motivated to learn the other areas as per the requirement of the project. You will work in a team of electronics and computer scientists, clinicians, biologists and software developers. Very good interpersonal communication skill is essential.

Applications for Research Fellow positions will be considered from candidates who are working towards or nearing completion of a relevant PhD qualification. The title of Research Fellow will be applied upon successful completion of the PhD. Prior to the qualification being awarded the title of Senior Research Assistant will be given.

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