Research Assistant in Brain Basis of Savant Talent in Autism
University of Cambridge
United Kingdom

We are looking to appoint a Research Assistant to manage recruitment of participants into a project exploring the brain basis of savant talent in autism. The project will include cognitive neuroscientific techniques (e.g. using MRI, experimental psychological, and questionnaire measures) with autistic and non-autistic individuals with or without savantism.

The aim of the project is to map neural connectivity and other differences in the brains of autistic and non-autistic individuals with and without savant skills, linked to other types of data. MRI will measure brain structure, resting state and task-activated function, and white matter DTI. Scanning will take place in Cambridge at the Wolfson Brain Imaging Centre (WBIC). This study focuses on one of the positive features of some autistic individuals and has the potential to explain not just the remarkable talents seen in a minority of autistic people but the strengths in autistic people more broadly.

Savantism in autism has been studied before but this new project aims to do this in larger samples than has previously been achieved, and to address the question as to whether different forms of savantism in different psychological domains (e.g., memory, attention, or sensory) or content domains (e.g., music, numerical, visual) share a common basis in the mind (e.g., pattern recognition) and brain (function and/or structure).

The post holder will work with the Principal Investigator (Professor Simon Baron-Cohen), the research coordinator appointed for this study and other members of the Autism Research Centre. They will liaise with other teams at the University of Cambridge (e.g. WBIC). They will be responsible for obtaining ethical approval, recruitment of participants and data collection, including assisting with the scanning data collection, and contribute to the production of research reports and publications. The post holder may also be involved in public-patient involvement and engagement activity.

Candidates must have previous experience in working in research projects and should hold a degree in psychology, neuroscience or a related science subject. Previous experience working with autistic individuals is desirable. The post holder will have strong organizational and interpersonal skills. Informal enquiries about the role may be directed to Dr Richard Bethlehem, rb643@medschl.cam.ac.uk. For questions related to visa applications related to this role, please contact hradminpsychiatry@medschl.cam.ac.uk.

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available for 2 years in the first instance.

Once an offer of employment has been accepted, the successful candidate will be required to undergo an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service check.

Click the 'Apply' button below to register an account with our recruitment system (if you have not already) and apply online.

Closing date: 20th April 2021

Please ensure that you upload your Curriculum Vitae (CV) and a covering letter in the Upload section of the online application. The covering letter should outline how you match the criteria for the post and why you are applying for this role. If you upload any additional documents which have not been requested, we will not be able to consider these as part of your application.

Please include details of your referees, including e-mail address and phone number, one of which must be your most recent line manager

Please quote reference RN26074 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

The University actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society.

The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.


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