Department of Psychology Methods of Plasticity Research

Postdoctoral Researcher
80-100 %

Our lab develops novel methodological approaches to study variations in cognitive performance across the lifespan and along the continuum from healthy to pathological functioning. Specifically, we investigate the potential for plasticity, mechanisms for stabilization and compensation across the lifespan. For this, we acquire and analyze multimodal data sets, such as structural MR, diffusion weighted data (DWI), simultaneous EEG and eye-tracking as well as behavioral data. From these rich data sets, we extract multivariate parameters and apply state-of-the-art methods, such as machine learning, functional network modelling, and longitudinal analyses.

Your responsibilities

The successful candidate will work on research in large scale multimodal projects to predict future cognitive decline from multimodal brain imaging data and non-brain risk factors (see project description below). Main responsibilities include the analysis of structural MRI data (optionally also DWI data), dissemination of study results in peer reviewed journals, and the supervision of PhD and Master students. The candidate will take part in ongoing projects and initiate new research within the team of Prof. Nicolas Langer, who is also part of the Neuroscience Center Zurich (ZNZ), closely collaborating with the University Research Priority Programme from the University of Zurich "Dynamics of Healthy Aging", the Healthy Brain Network of the Child Mind Institute (US), and the Department of Computer Science at the ETH Zurich.

Description of the Project: "Predicting future cognitive decline from non-brain risk factors and multimodal brain imaging data"
The present project aims to develop a framework to predict individual future cognitive decline in healthy and pathological aging based on existing data from multimodal neuroimaging and non-brain risk factors like demographics, baseline cognitive state, health, health behaviors, and genetic (i.e. APOE) data. The project will use data from the Open Access Series of Imaging Studies (OASIS-3) database ( and the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI). This database provides longitudinal data from multiple neuroimaging and risk factor data sources, allowing to characterize cognitive decline over multiple years in healthy and pathological aging in a large sample of over 1'000 participants. The multimodal neuroimaging and risk factors, from the baseline session will be used to predict cognitive decline at follow-up sessions via predictive models. The pilot experiment suggests that a combination of non-brain and structural data give the best predictions of future cognitive decline. The model needs to be refined by benchmarking different data processing strategies for input and further improving the generalizability by increasing the model's robustness against site-effects.

Your profile

What we offer

Place of work

University of Zurich
Department of Psychology
Methods of Plasticity Research
Andreasstrasse 15 / Box 2
CH-8050 Zurich

Start of employment

1.3.2021 (earliest, starting data is flexible)

To be considered please stick to the following application format:

Further information