PhD Position in Medicine
University of Zurich

PhD Position in Medicine
Using a custom-built driving simulator, we investigate topics relevant for safe driving. By way of clinical research trials, we aim to understand and better evaluate the influence of medical conditions, real-life situations or medications/substances on the so-called fitness to drive. Current inter- and transdisciplinary projects include - but are not limited to - age, ADHD, kinetosis, and sleep. In particular, sleepy driving is a much-underestimated risk in traffic, but methods to evaluate sleepiness are time-consuming and often suboptimal.

Your responsibilities

We recently published a pilot studydisplaying the potential of a driving-simulation-based maintenance of wakefulness test (DS-MWT) to better assess the effects of excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) on driving performance. The candidate will primarily be responsible for two concise complementary randomized-controlled trials (RCTs), further validating the pilot against classical MWTs in obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS)-affected volunteers for transfer into (clinical) use in traffic medicine. The RCTs' study protocols are already in preparation. The project will be performed in cooperation with the University Hospital Zurich (PD Dr. med. Esther I. Schwarz, USZ, Pneumology). Currently, we intend to acquire and analyze driving parameters, eye tracking data, EEG-data, and additional performance parameters. The candidate's tasks include acquiring final ethics approval, study organization, data acquisition and analysis as well as publication and presentation of results in per reviewed journals as well as on national and international conferences.

Your profile

We are looking for an enthusiastic, dedicated, and creative candidate. The successful candidate will be driven by curiosity, a strong and proactive team player and have a proactive can-do-attitude. The PhD candidate has to hold a Master's degree in Life Sciences, Biomedicine, (Biomedical) Engineering, Psychology, Medicine or similar, preferably with proven experience in relation to brain function (e.g. UZH Programs such as Medical Biology, Neurosciences, Neural Systems and Computation, or Interdisciplinary Brain Science). Candidates should have a strong interest and in working with trial participants and a self-sustained drive in data analysis (statistics in R, data analysis with MatLab, Python etc.).

What we offer

Apart from a laid-out project and a highly immersive driving simulator with integrated data acquisition for eye tracking and EEG-measurements, we offer to coin research and the standing of a small, but steadily growing interdisciplinary team of researchers. We acknowledge the challenges but also the chances of a small developing group. In our team, we build on collaboration, respect, trust, scientific integrity, initiative, and flexibility. Position and project are generously funded by institutional means and the Emma-Louise Kessler-Fund. The candidate will either already be accepted or will have to apply and be accepted to one of several available PhD-programs within the first 6 months. In the latter case, program selection should happen in mutual agreement, but also depending on the candidate's interest, background and strengths. We will foster collaborations and exchange with other groups of similar, but different focus, either on a national or international level, or within the PhD program and beyond.

Place of work

Institut für Rechtsmedizin - Verkehrsmedizin, Andreasstrasse, Zürich, Switzerland

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