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PhD stipend(s) at the Center for Neuroplasticity and Pain (CNAP) (21-22040)

Are you enthusiastic about basic human pain research? The Center for Neuroplasticity and Pain (CNAP) at Aalborg University is recruiting one or more PhD fellow(s) within the doctoral programme "Biomedical Engineering and Neuroscience, to start on 1 September 2022 or soon hereafter. 

Job description

Who are we?

We strive to identify and modulate key features of human pain neuroplasticity

CNAP is a basic research Center of Excellence supported by the Danish National Research Foundation at Aalborg University, Denmark (www.cnap.hst.aau.dk). CNAP applies a basic research approach where new advanced biomedical provocation and probing platforms are being discovered and applied to study novel aspects of the human pain neuroplasticity. When an injury results in acute pain, the nervous system undergoes an adaptive neuroplastic response resulting in an increase in sensitivity. After some time, the pain neuroplasticity is normalized as the injury heals. In some cases, such neuroplastic processes fail to normalize during convalescence, and acute pain develops into chronic pain with hypersensitivity. The continuing pain after injury resolution may be due to maladaptive pain neuroplasticity. In contrast, advantageous neuroplasticity permits the nervous system to cope with challenges such as maladaptive pain neuroplasticity to help returning to a pain-free state. The ambition of CNAP is to identify and modulate key features of human pain neuroplasticity through a systematic engineering approach, including provoking, probing and modulation of the dynamic neuroplastic properties of the pain system. We believe that this approach over time will facilitate new fundamental discoveries and change the state of the art. Our world class lab facilities enable advanced quantitative sensory/pain testing, application of advanced neurophysiological techniques (e.g. EEG, TMS, rTMS, HD-tDCS), bio-medical techniques (e.g. linked with epigenetics and general biomarkers), as well as research based on animal models (e.g. rodents and pigs). All research at CNAP is conducted in accordance with the present ethical guidelines.

CNAP is a dynamic and international research environment: approximately 60% of our staff come from outside of Denmark, with an almost 50-50% gender balance. Our working language is English, and you will also be writing your thesis in English. All our research groups are highly interdisciplinary and include experts within e.g. biomedical engineering, neuropsychology, pharmacology, biophysics, and medicine. You will thus be joining an inspiring, enriching, and productive cross-disciplinary research centre including staff with internationally recognized track records.

CNAP is affiliated to the Department of Health Science and Technology, the Faculty of Medicine, which does multidisciplinary research and teaching in the area of health science and technology. The department has more than 250 employees and is responsible for more than 1700 students.

CNAP research explores neuroplasticity and pain, with the aim of developing models for pain provocation, probing and modulation. You will be involved in our frontline fundamental research to identify novel mechanisms involved in the dynamics of pain neuroplasticity, and our efforts to advance the understandings of this topic within the academic world and beyond. Specifically, your tasks will be to:
  • Conduct research within non-invasive neuromodulation of pain mechanisms. In particular, it will include EEG and TMS techniques to study cortical changes in pain conditions. Core topics will be biomedical signal procession and protocols for identifying novel brain signatures in pain. E.g. we are currently developing methods to probe the brain non-invasively to obtain information on the ideal stimulation target before starting repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation for modulation of pain mechanisms.
  • Write up research results in the form of journal articles and book chapters
  • Contribute to national and international research conferences, and be exposed to external research environments as e.g. a visiting researcher
  • Disseminate the results of your research to the public
  • Follow Ph.D. training courses
  • Participate in the day-to-day life of the Center (e.g. research meetings, roundtables, seminars, social activities, reflexive discussions on neuroscience and pain )
We support students who have an ambition to conduct frontline research

We are committed to offering our PhD fellows the best possible research training. As a PhD fellow you will join Aalborg University’s Doctoral School in in Medicine, Biomedical Science and Technology with more than 200 enrolled PhD students. In addition to getting first class supervision from your supervisors who will guide you in the process of conducting and completing your PhD project, you will have access to a range of different PhD courses. Some will be of specific scientific relevance to your own project, while others will be of a more general character offering you training in transferable skills such as communication, research, and project management. Your scientific education will be supplemented with participation in joint events like journal clubs, workshops, and symposia. You will be offered relevant collaborative research training and/or research visits to external research centres outside Denmark.

You will join a Research Interest Group, which is a larger group of colleagues (other PhD students, post-doc researchers, and professors) who share your primary research interest. This gives ample opportunity for sparring and deep discussions. We aim to encourage a friendly and respectful working environment, believing that this is best way to ensure world class scientific results.

The PhD scholarship includes:
  • A competitive salary, enabling you to enjoy living and working in a high growth and centrally located European city, Aalborg, Denmark
  • Covered university fees
  • Danish health insurance
  • Research costs for your project
  • Travel funds for you to present your work at scientific conferences
  • Opportunity to travel and visit our research collaboration partners
  • An office for you to focus
  • Computer and other practical office necessities
  • Access to well-equipped laboratories
  • Guidance on how to re-locate to Aalborg, Denmark
Who are you?

If you…
  • hold a Master´s degree in biomedical engineering, neuroscience, pharmacology, medicine or equivalent
  • are willing to pursue studies on human pain neuroplasticity utilizing biomedical technologies (e.g., quantitative assessment) and human pain biomarkers
  • are eager to work with healthy volunteers and pain chronic pain patients
  • are familiar with non-invasive neuromodulation, EEG and signal processing, or are eager to learn these new processes and apply them in front-line research within the pain field
  • are curious and wish to have a fruitful three-year PhD experience in one of the largest and most productive pain neuroscience centres worldwide, where multidisciplinary approaches are continuously used to better understand and more efficaciously alleviate the huge burden pain imposes in health and quality of life
… then CNAP might just be the right place for you. As English is our working language, it is also necessary that you have a high level of proficiency (orally and written) in English. Good dissemination skills are important.

You may obtain further information at our website http://www.cnap.hst.aau.dk or from Professor Thomas Graven-Nielsen (tgn@hst.aau.dk) or Associate Professor Daniel Ciampi de Andrade (dca@hst.aau.dk). 

PhD stipends are allocated to individuals who hold a Master's degree. PhD stipends are normally for a period of 3 years. It is a prerequisite for allocation of the stipend that the candidate will be enrolled as a PhD student at the Doctoral School in Medicine, Biomedical Science and Technology in accordance with the regulations of Ministerial Order No. 1039 of August 27, 2013 on the PhD Programme at the Universities and Certain Higher Educational Institutions. According to the Ministerial Order, the progress of the PhD student shall be assessed at regular points in time.

Shortlisting will be applied. This means that subsequent to the deadline for applications the head of department supported by the chair of the assessment committee will select candidates for assessment. All applicants will be informed whether they will be assessed or not.

For further information about stipends and salary as well as practical issues concerning the application procedure contact Ms. Bettina Wedde, The Doctoral School at The Faculty of Medicine, email: bew@adm.aau.dk, phone: +45 9940 9909.

For more information of the The Doctoral School in Medicine, Biomedical Science and Technology: http://www.medicine.aau.dk/doctoral-school/

The application is only to be submitted online by using the "Apply online" button below.

AAU wishes to reflect the diversity of society and welcomes applications from all qualified candidates regardless of personal background or belief.


Appointment and salary as a PhD fellow are according to the Ministry of Finance Circular of 28 June 2019 on the Collective Agreement for Academics in Denmark, Appendix 5, regarding PhD fellows, and with the current Circular of 11 December 2019 on the employment structure at Danish universities.

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