PhD student Human Brain Imaging to explore network interactions in patients with somatic tinnitus

About the function

Tinnitus is a very common problem, affecting 10-15% of adults. Previous research has shown that in about 14% of these patients, tinnitus is influenced by tension in cervical musculature or decreased mobility in the cervical spine. Our own research has shown that we can treat these patients using physiotherapy, and animal research has proposed neurophysiological connections to explain this link between cervical spine problems and tinnitus. However, it remains unclear why not every patient with tinnitus experiences an influence of neck complaints on their tinnitus. Likewise, we currently cannot explain why not every patient with neck dysfunction experiences a tinnitus sound.

With this project we aim to answer these questions by deploying a multimodal medical imaging protocol to compare the brain activity of three groups of patients: patients with neck-related tinnitus, patients with other types of tinnitus and patients with neck complaints without tinnitus. As a PhD student you will primarily be involved in the MRI scanning, and data-analysis.

About us

Within the context of a collaboration between the REVAL Rehabilitation Research group of Hasselt University, the department of translational neurosciences of the University of Antwerp and Imec-Vision Lab, we wish to inform you about a vacant PhD position (100%) in Neuroscience concerning underlying mechanisms of somatic tinnitus. REVAL is an interdisciplinary and translational research group which performs research in the domains of pediatric, neurologic, geriatric and musculoskeletal rehabilitation, biomechanics, health psychology, mental health care and rehabilitation of internal diseases. The department of translational neurosciences of the University of Antwerp conducts research on the sensory organs of the human head and on the head and neck structures in which nerves play a major role, such as the brain, eyes, ears, nose, teeth, tongue, and throat; and all related health issues. Imec-Vision Lab is a research lab of the Department of Physics of the University of Antwerp. Vision Lab's main research area is the development of novel image reconstruction, processing and analysis methods, which are applied in the domain of Tomography, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Shape modelling, and Remote Sensing.

About you

  • You have a master in rehabilitation sciences, human movement sciences, biomedical sciences, psychology, audiology, medicine, engineering, computer sciences (or equivalent).
  • You have excellent academic grades.
  • You have experience in human brain imaging.
  • You are willing to contribute to external funding applications.
  • You have interest/experience with computer programming (such as MATLAB, Python, etc.).
  • You have knowledge on the design, execution and analysis of experimental research.
  • You have strong problem-solving skills, you are flexible, have the necessary organizational capacity and are stress resistant.
  • You have excellent communication skills in English, both oral and written. Knowledge of the Dutch language is a plus.
  • You are willing to contribute to a positive working atmosphere and are able to connect with the different domains and collaborators (practical assistants, PhD students, postdoctoral students and professors).
  • You are willing to commute between Edegem, where the scanning takes place, and Diepenbeek where most of the data analysis will be performed.

Our offer

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 University of Antwerp. Starting date is 01.10.2023.

Apply for this position

The selection procedure consists of a preselection based on application file and an interview.
A presentation or assignment is a possibility.

Apply now
Apply up to 16.04.2023

Question about this vacancy?

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

Prof. dr. Sarah MICHIELS

Tenure Track Assistant Professor

Prof. dr. Koen CUYPERS

Tenure Track Assistant Professor

prof. dr. Annick GILLES