Normal aging is associated with a decline in motor functions, impacting quality of life and the ability to live independently. These functional changes are partly caused by age-related changes in the brain. However, it remains unclear how age-related changes in brain structure, function, and connectivity affect motor performance.
Here, we study how age-related alterations in structural and functional brain interactions may account for deficits in motor behavior. On the one hand, we focus on the interaction between dedicated brain areas constituting the motor network involved in movement control. These interactions will be investigated within as well as across both hemispheres of the brain. On the other hand, we adopt a more global perspective by looking into age-related changes in the interactions among the different resting-state networks to arrive at a measure of neural dedifferentiation.
Finally, we embark on training-induced neuroplasticity in the aging brain and study (a) which structural and functional brain measures predict future learning and (b) how both behavioral and brain measures are altered as a result of learning. This research project requires deployment of multimodal medical imaging. We aim at contributing to the fundamental motor neuroscience of aging and to a body of knowledge that may inspire future training programs that alleviate or counteract functional decline with advancing age.
Within the context of a collaboration between the REVAL Rehabilitation Research group of Hasselt University and the translational MRI unit of KU Leuven, we wish to inform about a vacant PhD position (100%) in Neuroscience concerning underlying mechanisms in motor control in healthy aging. REVAL is an interdisciplinary and translational research group which performs research in the domains of pediatric, geriatric, neurologic and musculoskeletal rehabilitation, biomechanics, health psychology, mental health care and rehabilitation of internal diseases. The translational MRI unit at KU Leuven offers state-of the-art neuroimaging facilities and investigates the functional and structural organization of the normal and pathological human brain by the combination of functional MRI and diffusion tensor imaging.
You will be appointed and paid as PhD student.
Position for 2 years. After positive evaluation one time extendable with 2 years. Position at Hasselt University and KU Leuven.
The selection procedure consists of a preselection based on application file and an interview.
A presentation or assignment is a possibility.
Apply up to 19.12.2022