Research assistant Virtual Reality

Research Assistant
Neurobiology of Language

We are looking for a research assistant to work on the further development of two separate virtual-reality (VR) applications, in a joint position between the Max Planck Institute (MPI) and Neuro Drug Research Ltd (NDR), both located on the campus of the Radboud University in Nijmegen.

At the MPI, you will work on an application for visualizing structural and functional brain data as a part of the Neurobiology of Language department. This project aims to present brain data in a more intuitive manner, in order to provide better insight to researchers, as well as for educational purposes and presentation to the general public. You will work with state-of-the-art VR techniques, such as head-mounted devices and a VR CAVE environment. You will be responsible for streamlining and extending the current application, in collaboration with researchers and teachers who use the application.

At NDR, you will work on a second, separate application: a head-mounted display application which will present visual stimuli and simultaneously record eye- and head movements using integrated eye- and head trackers. This project will be part of the new Steenenburg Brain Centre (located near Den Bosch) and thereby embedded in projects involving patients, neurologists, researchers and developers. You will be responsible for the further development of the existing eye- and head-tracking software.

Development of these two applications will take place at the MPI and NDR, respectively. This position requires strong programming skills, preferably in C# using the Unity Game Engine, and an understanding of data analysis, data structures, algorithms and 3D computer graphics. A background or interest in Systems Neuroscience, Cognitive Neuroscience, or neuroimaging techniques is highly preferred.

 

Requirements

  • Having obtained a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in a relevant field;
  • An interest in Systems Neuroscience or Cognitive Neuroscience, virtual reality, data visualization and 3D computer graphics;
  • Substantial programming experience, including in a strongly-typed language and with object-oriented programming, and preferably with C#;
  • Experience with and knowledge of graphical application development, preferably in 3D with Unity;
  • Experience with and knowledge of matrix algebra, preferably in a data-processing, computational, or computer graphics environment;
  • The ability to bridge the gap between systems neuroscience / cognitive neuroscience and technological implementation, both in communication and in practice;
  • The ability to work independently and, following a training period, with minimal help and guidance;
  • Good English language skills, both written and spoken.

 

Conditions of employment

  • You will receive separate contracts from the MPI and NDR.
  • The position is available from 1 June 2021, though start date is negotiable.
  • This joint position is for at least 28 hours a week; exact working days and number of hours, including the possibility of working full-time, can be discussed.
  • The initial position will be for one year with a possibility for an extension.
  • Depending on the experience of the applicant, the salary will be within the range of EUR 3044.70 and EUR 3555.82 gross per month (excluding 8% holiday allowance), based on a full-time employment (39 hours per week).
  • An allowance of 30 days annual leave (based on a full-time employment) and the German as well as the Dutch public holidays.

 

Employers

The MPI for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen is the only research institute in the world entirely devoted to the study of language. Our goal is to understand how our minds and brains process language, how language interacts with other aspects of mind, and how we can learn languages of quite different types.  We are situated on the campus of the Radboud University, and have close collaborative links with the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour and the Centre for Language Studies at Radboud University. We are part of the Max Planck Society, an independent non-governmental association of German-funded research institutes dedicated to fundamental research in the natural sciences, life sciences, social sciences, and the humanities. The Max Planck Society is an equal opportunities employer.

For further details please visit our website: https://www.mpi.nl.

NDR is a Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Research & Development company. At NDR, we recently expanded our research efforts into the development of a VR application to measure eye- and head movements of patients with neurological diseases. This VR application will eventually be tested in clinical trials in collaboration with the nearby Jeroen Bosch Hospital and the Department of Biophysics, Donders Institute Nijmegen. Furthermore, we perform molecular and cell-biological research on cultured human 3D minibrains (oligocortical spheroids with multiple brain cell types derived from a human embryonic stem cell line). We are developing this model to validate ‘druggable’ targets derived from our big-data molecular landscape of MS. We investigate the effects of genetic manipulation (CRISPR-cas on key MS genes/proteins) as well as of compounds that activate or inhibit targeted functioning of the (MS) minibrains to gain new mechanistic insights into the disease.

For further details please visit our website: https://neurodrugresearch.com/

 

Application procedure

Are you interested in this research assistant position, and in joining our projects? Please send your letter of motivation (English), CV, and at least one reference letter to Carolin Lorenz (Carolin.Lorenz [at] mpi.nl) by 30 April 2021.

For questions about the VR brain application and development you can contact Teun van Gils, MSc (Teun.vanGils [at] mpi.nl), and for questions about the VR tracking application and development you can contact Dr. Marijn Martens (marijn [at] neurodrugresearch.com, +31 6 33710009).

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