Postdoctoral Research Associate – Data analysis (EDIFY)

Social, Genetic & Dev Psychiatry MRC

London, Denmark Hill


  • Posted on: 23rd Nov 2021
  • Salary: £38,304 per annum, including London Weighting Allowance
  • REF: 037345
  • Closes: 07th December 2021
  • Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
  • Hours: Full Time

Job description

Applications are invited for a talented, enthusiastic and highly motivated postdoc to join our team at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King’s College London.

The successful applicant will be part of a multidisciplinary team of researchers who aim to transform the way in which eating disorders (ED) are identified, prevented, and treated.

Specifically, the work involves applying state of the art multivariate statistical approaches to analyse well-characterised longitudinal cohorts to develop and test predictive models of risk and resilience for EDs and associated behaviours in young people. This will help determine: (1) Biopsychosocial markers of EDs and which of these are predictors vs. correlates of illness; (2) Key societal (e.g., COVID) and interpersonal (e.g., social media, victimisation, discrimination) drivers of appearance concerns and disordered eating behaviours; (3) Whether the same factors predict onset of high-risk behaviours (appearance concerns, dieting), and progression from high-risk behaviours into EDs; (4) How young people being in under-represented groups (ethnic and sexual minorities, higher BMI, and combination of these) influence these risk factors/models.

The work may also include supervising recruitment and assessment of participants using a range of neuropsychological and neurocognitive tasks, run MRI scans and collect biological samples.

The position provides excellent opportunities for cutting-edge approaches and innovative research in one of the world leading research environments, and to develop extensive collaborative experience in clinical neuroscience within a worldwide network.

The successful candidate will have a PhD in computer science or a related discipline (biostatistics, biomedical engineering, applied math), genetics, neuroimaging or imaging neuroscience. Solid big data programming skills with a working knowledge of Linux, C/C++, Python and Matlab and strong statistical skills are expected. Experience in neuroimaging processing and analysis, such as familiarity with the use of FSL, SPM, Freesurfer or other relevant programs and the application of statistical methods such as voxel-based or connectivity analyses is a strong plus. Willingness to engage with patients and other service users in research and strong interpersonal skills are expected. Excellent scientific writing skills and a strong publication record, preferably as first author, are highly desired.

Willingness to engage with patients and other service users in research and strong

Candidates should submit with their application a CV and cover letter with concise description of their research interests and career goals.

This post will be offered on a fixed-term contract for 2-3 years

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

Key responsibilities

• Take a leading role in the analysis of behavioural data and their relation to MRI and other biological measures.

• Apply statistical techniques to dimensionality reduction and prediction in Big data analysis.

• Develop active interactions with our research collaborators

• Publish and disseminate data arising from this project

• Attend and present at academic meetings and contribute to the visibility of the project and its aims.

• Work as a conscientious and committed member of the team in order to achieve the aims of the project

• Undertake any other reasonable duties that may be relevant to the role outline

• Assist with the supervision of PhD and MSc candidates and with the general running of the group

• Engage with service users and supervise our recruitment and assessment team. Their activity takes place in several sites, including all sites of the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust Eating Disorders Unit and other participating Eating Disorder Units.

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

  • Experience in analyzing multimodal data, (e.g. behavioural, MRI, genetics).
  • Experience and/or interest in eating disorders.
  • Demonstrable experience of multivariate statistical analyses, including longitudinal multivariate analyses
  • Demonstrable experience of programming in a higher level language (R/C/C++/Perl/Python)
  • Evidence of the ability to publish in high-impact scientific journals

Essential criteria

1. PhD in computer science or a related discipline (biostatistics, biomedical engineering, applied math), genetics, neuroimaging.

2. An understanding of programming, particularly with regard to big data

3. Deep familiarity with the application of statistical techniques to multimodal data (including behavioural or biological data)

4. Evidence of the ability to contribute to publications in high-impact scientific journals

5. Excellent written and verbal communication

6. Strong interpersonal skills

7. Ability to work independently as well as in a team

8. Professional and enthusiastic

9. Ability to use initiative, prioritise and organise workload

Desirable criteria

1. Demonstrable experience of programming in a higher-level language (R/C/C++/Perl/Python/Matlab) and applications of machine learning

2. Experience in neuroimaging processing and analysis (i.e., familiarity FSL, SPM, Freesurfer or other relevant programs and the application of statistical methods such as voxel-based or connectivity analyses)

3. Experience of interaction with investigators on scientific projects and working in a collaborative environment.

4. Ability to deal with sensitive issues and maintain confidentiality of data

5. Available to work weekends when necessary

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

Interviews are expected to take place around mid-November 2021.

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