Two open postdoctoral research position in Neurology & Neurosurgery and Biomedical Engineering in the lab of Professor Louis Collins at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital, McGill University to develop MRI biomarkers of clinical progression in Multiple Sclerosis
Start date: spring 2020/rolling
Disciplines: Neuroscience, Psychology, Cognitive Sciences and Engineering
Description: We are seeking two postdoctoral fellows to work with an international team to develop the next generation of MRI markers of clinical disease progression to be used as primary outcome measures in phase 2 trials for progressive MS (PMS). The underlying hypothesis for the project is that disease progression in MS is detectable through MRI prior to its clinical expression. Through international collaborations, we have obtained data from 10000+ patients (60000 timepoints) from multiple phase 2 and phase 3 clinical trials. Using this data, the Postdoctoral fellows will learn to use an extensive set of sophisticated image processing tools to analyze MRI images to detect patterns of brain changes (atrophy) typical of MS. The fellows will develop statistical approaches to identify combinations of MRI features that maximize the change over time estimated by mixed effect models and used in machine learning algorithms. The candidates will use cutting-edge computer science tools and algorithms from the fields of computer vision, pattern recognition, machine learning and deep learning techniques. These fellowships will give significant opportunity for publication and will prepare the candidates for future academic or industrial careers. (Unionized, funded position at $65k/y for 2 years to start as soon as possible).
Requirements: Candidates should have a PhD in computer science, math, physics, engineering or neuroscience and have strong analytical skills, programming experience, ability to work independently, good communication skills and experience in computational image analysis methods. (Eligible candidates must be < 5y from graduation with PhD.)
Context: These two positions are funded by a grant from the International group on Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (IPMSA) for a multidisciplinary collaborative network to develop next generation MRI markers of progression in MS.
Our overall goal is to develop next generation MRI markers of clinical disease progression to be used as primary outcome measures in phase 2 trials for progressive MS (PMS) in a fashion analogous to the use of Gadolinium-enhancement in relapsing MS trials. The underlying hypothesis is that disease progression in MS is detectable through MRI prior to its clinical expression, and that we will be able to infer measures or features of the MRI that may not be directly observable and that have the following characteristics:
- sensitive to pathological changes over short time intervals consistent with efficient phase 2 trials for progressive MS (face validity),
- correlate with clinical disease progression over the same time interval (concurrent validity), and predictive of future disability (predictive validity),
- predictive of treatment effect on clinical outcomes.
To identify MRI patterns with the above characteristics, we will further develop and use:
- statistical approaches including algorithms to identify combinations of MRI features that maximize the change over time estimated by mixed models, and also
- cutting-edge computer science tools, algorithms from the fields of computer vision/pattern recognition, and machine learning (including deep learning) techniques.
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