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KU Leuven
SPINNING OUT OF CONTROL: BUILDING A PREDICTION MODEL FOR BINGING EPISODES ACROSS PSYCHOPATHOLOGY BY INTEGRATING INNOVATIVE PET/MR DATA, REAL-TIME BEHAVIORAL MONITORING AND ENVIRONMENTAL STRESS
KU Leuven
KU Leuven is an autonomous university. It was founded in 1425. It was born of and has grown within the Catholic tradition.
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JOB DETAILS
Published: 16 days ago
Application deadline: Sep 03
Location: Leuven, Belgium
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SPINNING OUT OF CONTROL: BUILDING A PREDICTION MODEL FOR BINGING EPISODES ACROSS PSYCHOPATHOLOGY BY INTEGRATING INNOVATIVE PET/MR DATA, REAL-TIME BEHAVIORAL MONITORING AND ENVIRONMENTAL STRESS

(ref. BAP-2018-534)

This project is situated within the MIND-BODY research group, at the Department of Psychiatry, KU Leuven, Belgium. The general aim of the group is to study the influence of acute and chronic stress on brain, body and behavior in healthy individuals and in individuals with psychiatric disorders. Specifically, this project is a collaboration between the MIND-BODY group and the Department of Nuclear Medicine at KU Leuven. The selected applicant will work with advanced imaging analysis techniques on in-vivo multimodal brain MRI and PET data, as well as collect behavioral and physiological data using experienced sampling methods (ESM) and ambulatory devices measuring the stress-sensitive autonomous nervous system (ANS) in a clinical patient sample suffering from bulimia nervosa (BN) and alcohol use addiction (AUD).

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Project

It is difficult to understand what drives psychiatric patients into acratic behaviors such as binge drinking or extreme food choices, causing serious self-harm, permanent impairment and occasionally death. Increase in stress is known to trigger binging behavior.

In this study, we hypothesize that under stressful circumstances, biological mechanisms originating in the brain and body trigger problematic loss of control and abnormal incentive processing in alcohol use disorder (AUD) and bulimia disorder (BD), pushing patients into a binging episode.

Our main aim will be to build a personalized prediction model using machine learning and graph-based techniques, finding (bio)markers to predict onset vulnerability, binging severity and course of illness in both BN and AUD. We believe that, before behavior spins out of control and a new episode of psychopathology sets in, patients already have alterations in their brain and body in daily life affecting behavioral choices.

Hereto, the simultaneous combined positron emission tomography (PET)-magnetic resonance (MR) scanner, will be performed in first-onset AUD and BD patients in rest and stressful conditions. The findings obtained across multiple brain imaging modalities will then be integrated and correlated with psychophysiological and lifestyle measurement data obtained during daily life. We will measure autonomous nervous system (ANS) in daily life as a measure of biological stress. Environmental data will be collected by using experienced sample method (ESM), to register lifestyle in real time.

Applying these techniques will be an innovative attempt to use neuroimaging data as a translational tool in psychopathology, specifically to build an individualized model to predict binging behavior in AUD and BD. Moreover, in the field of psychiatry, the prediction model will give us the unique opportunity to recognize the urge for binging in daily life early in patients and improve treatment interventions before spinning into full blown psychopathology.

Profiel

We are looking for a candidate with the following qualifications:

1. Degree in Medicine, Psychology, Biomedical Engineering or related disciplines

2. Experience in one or more of the following areas is desirable:

Clinical skills and patient contact

Dutch speaking

Analyses of functional MRI or PET data

Machine learning

3. Skill in one or more of the following areas are a plus:

Strong communication and social skills

Analytical skills and well organized

Interested in teamwork

Ability to work independently

Aanbod

The successful candidate will be awarded a full-time, 4 year PhD position at KU Leuven and will be embedded in a multidisciplinary research group. He or she will implement and apply advanced imaging analysis techniques on in-vivo multimodal brain MRI and PET data. These neuroimaging finding will be combined with the collected longitudinal behavioral and physiological data, creating the novel opportunity to built an individualized prediction model of binge behavior across psychopathology.

Interesse?

Vul contactpersonen aan in stap 1 "Context vacature" en hergenereer deze tekst.

Solliciteren voor deze vacature kan tot en met 03/09/2018 via onze online sollicitatietoepassing

KU Leuven wil een omgeving creëren waarin alle talenten maximaal tot ontplooiing kunnen komen, ongeacht gender, leeftijd, culturele herkomst, nationaliteit of functiebeperking. Hebt u vragen in verband met toegankelijkheid of ondersteuningsmogelijkheden, dan kan u ons contacteren via diversiteit.HR@kuleuven.be.

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