PhD Position in Neurology and Data Science

University of Zurich

Spinal Cord Injury Center

PhD student at the intersection of neurology and data science (Horizon-MSCA Doctoral Networks)
100 %

Technology-driven combinatorial therapy to rewire the spinal cord after injury (ReWIRE) is set up to equip next-generation scientists with unique skills to develop ground-breaking therapeutic solutions for patients with paralysis. The specific transdisciplinary and translational aspects will fill a gap in the traditional education programs and foster R&D competence in the field of medical products and therapies focused on spinal cord injury (SCI). The first objective is to establish an international, interdisciplinary, and intersectoral educational network that develops and links high-tech routes into new personalized, combinatorial approaches to rewire the spinal cord. The second objective is to build a clinical data platform for SCI. The third objective is to position Europe at the forefront of therapy for SCI. ReWIRE follows an international, inter­dis­ciplinary, and intersectoral approach organized in 8 and 7 inter­wo­ven work and training packages, respectively.

The training and research parts are focused on developing the next generation specialists and technologies in the European Research Area (ERA) to conform to the rapidly evolving technologies for individualized therapies to treat SCI. Specifically, ReWIRE aims to establish meaningful long-term and autonomous functional recovery by combining axonal regrowth and reconnection with new neuronal circuits, controlled by the brain and boosted by neuromodulation. The overall goal is to translate combinatorial SCI therapies from bench to bedside in a timely manner, thereby improving the quality of life and reducing societal burden. To regenerate the spinal cord, axons must be reactivated and stimulated, chemo-attracted, supported, and guided across the lesion site and into the spared tissue. Plasticity of spared connections must be generated in combination with functional new connections via the formation of terminal-like contacts, exhibiting synaptic markers and re-establishing electrophysiological conduction capacity across the lesion. The convergent approach will lead to combinatorial therapies to repair the spinal cord after injury, which, to date, has not been successful using individual therapies.

Your responsibilities

The main objectives of this PhD position are to employ advanced statistical and machine learning algorithms to analyze data derived from large observational studies and clinical trials with the goal to counsel preclinical research, and to advance translational trial protocols in human spinal cord injury. Regular meetings with other ReWIRE participants will promote the knowledge exchange between disciplines, optimize the analytical pipeline, and hone the dialogue between preclinical and clinical scientists. Furthermore, such collaborations will allow to meet and work with patients and their representatives to appreciate their perspective, needs, and research priorities.

The PhD student is expected to work towards a doctoral degree and participate in the teaching activities of the group. This full-time position offers the student an excellent opportunity to delve into the world of data science and machine learning as well as gain deep fundamental knowledge about neurology. The student will join an inclusive, diverse, and supportive working environment that praises scientific curiosity and creativity.

Your profile

You are a highly motivated, committed, and creative candidate, who can work in a multidisciplinary team and with outstanding communication skills.

At the time of appointment (January 2023), you have completed a master's degree in Statistics, Computational Biology, Data Science, Health Sciences, Translational Medicine, or related fields with a strong focus on applied statistics and/or machine learning. Note, a MSc., March, or similar recognized master's degree is required for admission to University of Zurich. Experience in programming (R or python) and a profound interest in translation medicine as well as R&D are added value. Fluency in spoken and written English is a requirement

Requirement by the Horizon-MSCA Doctoral Networks program: the successful applicant must not have been located in Switzerland for longer than 6 months prior to the start of the project.

What we offer

We offer varied and interesting work in an inspiring and socially relevant environment.
Diversity and inclusion are important to us.

Place of work

Lengghalde 5, 8008 Zürich, Switzerland

Start of employment

January 1, 2023