PhD student Rehabilitation Sciences and Physiotherapy - Cerebellar ageing and its impact on motor control

About the function

With increasing age, motor functions deteriorate. Structural and functional changes in the brain are the underlying mechanism of this behavioural decline.

Up to now, most research has focused on the contribution of changes in the cerebrum, the big brain, while the cerebellum's role has been studied much less intensively. Study results from a meta-analysis by our research group show that very specific regions in the cerebellum of young adults become active during the performance of complex bimanual tasks, where coordination between both hands is crucial.

Results from another recent study even suggested that bimanual locomotion depends more on the volume of grey matter in the cerebellum than on other cortical regions. The fact that ageing is associated with cerebellar atrophy and decreased white matter integrity, therefore strongly suggests that cerebellar architecture and function play a key role in the decline of bimanual motor functions in the elderly. 

Therefore, this project aims to better map the role of cerebellar architecture and function in healthy elderly people and how this impacts bimanual motor functions. This will involve the use of methodological techniques including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and electroencephalography (EEG).

About you

  • You hold a Master's degree in (bio)medical sciences or rehabilitation sciences and physiotherapy (or equivalent) (or equivalent)
    Final-year students are (likewise) encouraged to apply.
  • You have achieved good academic results.
  • You have a strong interest in structural fundamental research.
  • A strong affinity with rehabilitation and scientific research is a plus.
  • A strong interest in medical imaging and analyzing this data is a plus.
  • Experience with programming languages (such as Matlab, Python, etc) is a plus.
  • You have insight into setting up, executing and analyzing experimental research designs.
  • You have strong problem-solving skills, are flexible, have the necessary organizational capacity, are stress resistant and takes initiative
  • You have excellent communication skills and a good knowledge of Dutch and English, both orally and in writing.
  • You actively contribute to a positive working atmosphere where you make connections between different domains and people (practice assistants, doctoral students, postdoctoral researchers, professors).

Our offer

You will be appointed and paid as PhD student.
Position for 2 years. After positive evaluation one time extendable with 2 years. Positon at Hasselt University.

Apply for this position

The selection procedure consists of a preselection based on application file and an interview.
A presentation or assignment may complement the selection procedure. Interviews are scheduled in december 2022.

Apply now
Apply up to 15.06.2023

Question about this vacancy?

For substantive questions, send an e-mail to For questions about the selection procedure, please email

Prof. dr. Raf MEESEN