Karolinska Institutet, Institutionen för neurobiologi, vårdvetenskap och samhälle

The Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society (NVS) conducts world leading research in aging, dementia, epidemiology and care sciences. This research extends from basic molecular and cell levels to clinical research and societal studies. NVS educates almost a third of KI students at basic and advanced levels. The Department has approximately 450 employees and a revenue 2017 of 470 million SEK. It comprises eight divisions, located at Campus Flemingsberg and Campus Solna.

A doctoral position is an available doctoral education project to which a PhD student is to be recruited. After the selection process the process for admission to doctoral education will commence. An admission decision will not be taken until an individual study plan has been approved by the departmental admission board.

For more information regarding doctoral (PhD) education, see: http://www.ki.se/doctoral

Research group
The research group of Associate Professor Eric Westman is localized within the Geriatrics Laboratories in the Novum building at KI Campus Huddinge, and organizationally within the Division of Clinical Geriatrics at the NVS Department. The focus of the research group has long been on different modalities using magnetic resonance imaging investigating patterns of disease. The need for advanced tools is important when combing large amounts of data from multiple neuroimaging modalities. Combining and analyzing multiple biomarkers with multivariate tools and graph theory will hopefully aid in diagnosing AD in an early stage.

The doctoral education project and the duties of the student
Description of the project
The overall aim of this project is advance our understanding of the underlying mechanisms of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The complexity and heterogeneity within AD is poorly understood. Currently, there are no disease modifying treatments for AD and many clinical trials have failed. More homogeneous populations need to be recruited with the same underlying etiology of the disease so future trials will have a chance of success. Therefore the main aims of this project are to define and characterize different subtypes of AD and translate the findings to the prodromal and preclinical stages of the disease.

The specific objectives of this PhD project are:
1. Define subtypes of AD based on patterns of atrophy (cortical thickness and subcortical volumes) defined by cluster analysis.
Investigate how novel methods for shape analysis can improve the definition of AD subtypes. Can the different subtypes be observed already in subjects with mild cognitive impairment and subjective cognitive impairment?
3. Use novel advanced classification algorithms (deep learning) to predict future conversion to AD and to which subtype in large samples of MCI, SCI and healthy individuals.  

The candidate will work in a joint project involving both researchers at the Division of Clinical Geriatrics, KI and the School for Technology and Health (STH), KTH, with supervision from both environments. There may be an opportunity to be part of KI and KTH joint PhD programs for graduate students in medical technology.

Expectations for the doctoral student
The project will require combining advanced neuroimaging and data analysis in large cohorts of subjects. Hence, it is important that the student has a strong interest in image preprocessing, image analysis and statistics. Highly motivated candidates with a strong interest in clinical applications and that are willing to develop computational methods are encouraged to apply.

Entry requirements for doctoral education at KI
To be eligible for doctoral education following requirements has to be met:

General entry requirements
A person meets the general entry requirements for doctoral/third-cycle/PhD education (according to Higher Education Ordinance Chapt 7, section 39) if he/she:

  1. has been awarded advanced/second-cycle/master qualification (i.e. master degree) or
  2. has satisfied the requirements for courses comprising at least 240 credits of which at least 60 credits were awarded in the second-cycle/master level, or
  3. has acquired substantially equivalent knowledge in some other way in Sweden or abroad.

Specific entry requirements
Proficiency in English equivalent to the course English B/English 6 at Swedish upper secondary school:
Proficiency in the English language can be documented by an internationally recognized test such as TOEFL or IELTS, see web-link below for more information.
Applicants who meet the general entry requirements (1 or 2 above) from a university in one of the Nordic countries fulfill the requirements in English.

For more information regarding general and specific entry requirements: http://ki.se/en/education/entry-requirements-eligibility-for-doctoral-education

The applicant is expected to have a degree in computer science, physics, engineering or mathematics. Requirements for this position are good programming skills in Matlab, C++ or Python and good knowledge of Linux OS.

Skills and personal qualities
Previous experience with graph theoretical analyses, multivariate analysis and neuroimaging software such as FreeSurfer, SPM and FSL is a plus. The candidate is expected to show good communication skills, an ability to work independently at a multidisciplinary level and to show team-working abilities and interpersonal skills. Candidates must fluently speak English.

Assessment criteria
A selection will be made among qualified applicants on the basis of the ability to benefit from doctoral education. Karolinska Institutet uses the following bases of assessment:
- Documented subject knowledge of relevance to the area of research
- Analytical skill
- Other documented knowledge or experience that may be relevant to doctoral studies in the subject

The qualifications of the applicants will be evaluated on an overall basis.

Terms and conditions
All doctoral students at KI receive financial support during their doctoral education and employment on a doctoral studentship is the most common sort of support. During the time between recruitment and admission a short-term employment can be offered for up to 6 months.

Application process
An application must contain the following documents in Swedish or English:

  • A personal letter and curriculum vitae
  • A copy of degree certificates and associated certificates
  • A copy of degree projects and any previous publications

The application is to be submitted through the MyNetwork recruitment system.

Type of employment Doktorandplats
Contract type Full time
Reference number 2-1283/2017
  • Eric Westman, Senior lecturer,, eric.westman@ki.se, +46 8 585 868 70
Union representative
  • Carina Dahlin, OFR , 08-524 836 92
  • Lena Wettergren, SACO, 08-524 836 50, Lena.Wettergren@ki.se
  • Henry Wölling, SEKO, 08-524 840 80, henry.wolling@ki.se
Published 09.Mar.2017
Last application date 30.Mar.2017 11:59 PM CET

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