Category: Lab

(expired) 2 Postdoc positions in the Reach & Touch Lab (in the new Bielefeld-based Biopsychology group)

I am looking for 2 Postdocs to join my new lab in Bielefeld, the Biopsychology & Cognitive Neuroscience group of the Psychology Department.

I will be interviewing as soon as possible after the deadline (July 29, 2016).

The group investigates sensorimotor and multisensory transformation and integration, with a focus on tactile processing and its relationship with movement (check out the remaining website, http://reachtouchlab.com). Available research methods will be motion tracking, EEG, TMS, EMG, 3T fMRI, and a two-armed Kinarm. Besides the focus on touch and sensorimotor processing, the group will investigate developmental aspects of these topics in infants and children. At the University of Bielefeld, there are multiple possibilities for collaboration for additional psychological/neuroscientific methods. The positions are university-funded (3 years, additional 3 years possible) and include teaching. They should start in October 2016. There’s a multitude of possibilities for research, and your ideas matter.

Apply by July 29!

Not sure whether you should apply? Get in touch with your questions via Email (tobias.heed@uni-hamburg.de) or Twitter (@TobiasHeed) to arrange a phone call if you can’t reach me by phone directly.

 

Postdoc positions

Note: this is not the official advertisement. Please find it here (in German). English applications are fine, non-German applications are welcome.

 

Job description

The jobholder will plan, execute, analyze, and publish research studies in the lab, using (some of) the above listed methods. This includes the organization and scientific administration of projects and potentially the co-supervision of PhD students. (75%)

The position includes teaching of 2 student courses per semester (4 “Lehrveranstaltungsstunden (LVS)”). (20%)

It is expected that the jobholder takes part in the academic self-administration. (5%)

The development of an own research focus, including acquisition of third party funding, is encouraged. It is possible to habilitate on the position.

Job specification

Necessary qualifications, knowledge, and competences

  • PhD in Psychology, Cognitive Neuroscience, or a comparable degree in a related field
  • Practical experience with experiments in at least 2 of the above-mentioned scientific research methods, demonstrated through corresponding publications
  • Very good programming skills for experimental acquisition and analysis (e.g. Presentation, Python, Matlab, R), and the willingness to acquire further such skills if required
  • Very good statistical knowledge
  • Very good English skills and experience with publishing in English
  • Independent and thorough working style
  • The group will be practicing Open Science; it will be expected that the jobholder documents and publishes data and scripts.

Desirable qualifications, knowledge, and competences

  • Knowledge of Bayesian statistics
  • PhD topic in the area of sensorimotor processing or sensorimotor development
  • Experience with motion tracking or Kinarm
  • Teaching experience
  • Experience with supervising students (theses, student assistants, PhDs)

Please submit your application preferably as one single pdf file that contains all relevant content (motivation letter, CV, copies of relevant certificates, job reference letters if applicable). Please list two references from an academic background whom I may contact during the application process.

 

The Reach & Touch Lab commits to Open Science

We’ve just published a commitment to Open Science as a disclaimer about how we intend to publish our work, starting today.

It has been becoming increasingly clear that scientific practices in Psychology and Neuroscience will have to undergo important changes towards “Open Science”. Maybe inspired most by the Science publication on the difficulty to replicate many Psychology findings by the Open Science Collaboration in 2015, discussions and suggestions abound in social media and on the internet.

Some of the most salient points in current discussions are:

  • the need for a general commitment of the research community to communicate and share original data, analysis methods, and programming scripts
  • the need for scientists to truthfully report hypotheses, null findings, and failures
  • publish in ways that make papers freely accessible

We’ve discussed Open Science practices in the lab over the last months. We’ve compared our current research and publication practices with those that might be most adequate in view of good scientific conduct, and evaluated what steps we will have to take to make the necessary changes.

The result of these discussions is our Open Science Commitment, which we have made available on our webpage today, to which I personally commit as the principal investigator of the lab, and to which the members of my group have agreed to commit to as well.

Some comments and explanations

One thing that became quite clear in our discussions is that a commitment to Open Science might seem clear and easy in theory and debate, but does not as easily translate into a realistically manageable day-to-day lab practice. As a consequence, we have formulated a commitment which we think we can actually keep. Below, I’ll give a few explaining comments.

We hope that other labs will implement their own Open Science principles, and we are open to discussion about our own!

About data sharing

Some initiatives demand that everyone share their raw data. Whereas this is relatively straightforward for many behavioral data such as reaction times and response choices, it seems much less straightforward for experiments involving motion tracking, EEG, or fMRI. Such data typically contain many segments of unusable data, complex coding of experimental conditions, and are initially stored in formats that might not be readable by every analysis software. Anyone who has ever tried to analyze such a data set that they did not acquire themselves (we have!) knows that reconstructing the coding of conditions, unusable segments of data, etc. can take weeks, even if the data are documented.

We have therefore specified to share the data necessary to replicate the analyses we report. As an example, for an EEG experiment, this might be the data of the trials we retained after semi-automatic artifact rejection.

In addition, we realized that preparing scripts for sharing can be a daunting task, especially for analysis-intensive experiments such as those involving EEG and fMRI. We’re not professional coders and handling code is a late-acquired skill for almost all of us. There’s a simple fear that others will criticize our code as inefficient, amateur-like, or even wrong.

Accordingly, the lab statement talks not only about sharing, but also commits to teaching everyone in the lab how to code cleanly, comment code, etc. We also provide written workflows that specify how a study should be conducted, so that making it open will hopefully require as little effort as possible. Ultimately, Open Science will hopefully be a part of our culture and simply “the way we do things here”.

About collaborations

We discussed whether future collaborations should be contingent on a commitment to Open Science also by the collaborator, or else be abandoned. We reckon that this might not be a smart move at the moment, as we don’t know what kind of principles and rules other researchers might have to comply with at their institutions. Accordingly, we have committed to actively discuss our principles at the beginning of new collaborations.

About publishing

This was a tough point. In the current research world, publishing in expensive for-profit journals is usually important to advance a science career (most evidently so for untenured researchers, but also for tenured ones). To put it bluntly, everyone talks positively about the new Open Access (OA) journals, but the best research is mostly still sent to the old, closed access (or expensive OA fee) journals.

Therefore, committing to publishing exclusively Open Access seemed unrealistic in the current career climate. There are some OA journals we do not want to use as output for our research; and we object to paying the excessive OA fees many closed access journals take for making papers OA. So we will use preprint servers to publish our research OA, even if some of our publications will be submitted to closed access journals.

About peer review

There is currently a lot of chatter about the Peer Reviewer Openness Initiative. Signers of this initiative vow to review papers only if the corresponding data and scripts are publicly available, starting 2017. Though I find the aim of the initiative great, I have not signed, as I cannot justify asking of others what I have not fully implemented in my own lab. Accordingly, I will sign the initiative when we’ve fully transitioned to being an Open Science lab.

About getting better…

As is evident from the above comments, we could be more extreme in some of the stances we take. Instead, we chose to start with what we believe we can currently fulfill. But as the last point of our commitment, we have added that we will continue to strive to become better. Step by step.

Comments to this post are open — we’re curious to hear your opinions.

José Ossandón joins the Reach & Touch Lab

We welcome José Ossandón, who joins the Reach and Touch Lab as a PostDoc today!

José just finished his PhD in the lab of Peter König at the University of Osnabrück and is an expert in eye movement research, with methodological expertise in modeling and EEG analysis (see his page for CV and publications).

José’s work will focus on the relationship of saccade behavior and tactile spatial perception. Among other things, he will combine EEG and TMS to investigate brain connectivity while participants freely view visual scenes.

The position is funded by the Collaborative Research Center 936 ‘Multi-site communication in the brain’.

Great news: DAAD is funding 3-month visit by Daniel Marigold from Canada

Daniel Marigold is an Associate Professor at the Department of Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology at the Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, Canada. His research focuses on the role of vision for walking. One of his main interests is how parietal cortex organizes movements of different effectors, a topic we’ve addressed in the Reach & Touch Lab (see publications by Leoné et al. 2014 and Heed et al. 2011), and that Phyllis Mania is currently pursuing as part of the Emmy Noether group’s work package.

The DAAD is funding Dan to visit the Reach & Touch Lab for 3 months in 2016. We’re planning a TMS project in which we will test the relevance of parietal cortex for hand and foot motor planning. Better yet, Dan won’t be coming alone, but will be joined by Dr. Kim Lajoie, a member of his lab with a background in neuronal recording in the parietal cortex of cats.

We’re looking forward to Dan and Kim’s stay!

Steph Badde has left to go to NY

Steph Badde, who received her PhD from the Biological Psychology and Neuropsychology lab, and worked as a PostDoc here since, is starting a PostDoc with Michael Landy in August. She’s packed her bags and gone off to NY.

We’re sad to let her go! And wish her exciting times in the States.

Steph Badde awarded Best Dissertation Prize by the DGPs’s General Psychology section

For the competition, the 10 best dissertations of the last 2 years are pre-selected by a panel of reviewers. The PhDs (actually, now postdocs) then present their work at a meeting that is usually held in the place the last winner came from, and prizes are awarded to the 3 selected as best by a local committee.

Steph presented the work from her dissertation, “Top-down and bottom-up influences on tactile localization and remapping”, and received the first prize.

Congratulations!

Steph is currently a postdoc in the lab of Brigitte Röder and collaborates with the Reach & Touch Lab.

We are hiring a PostDoc – apply by June 15, 2015

Funding

The position is funded by a project in the Research Collaborative (Sonderforschungsbereich, SFB) 936, “Multi-site communication in the brain”. The principle investigators of the project are Tobias Heed (Hamburg), Peter König (Osnabrück), and Brigitte Röder (Hamburg). The position is attached to the Emmy Noether Group “Reach and Touch” headed by Tobias Heed, within the Biopsychology department of the University of Hamburg.

The SFB is funded for 4 years. The earliest starting date is July 1, 2015, but a later starting date is possible. The position will end on June 30, 2019, independent of the starting date. 

The SFB consists of 18 projects. They all investigate some aspect of brain connectivity. Methods courses, talks by international guests, and yearly retreats are organized on a regular basis, providing an interesting, interdisciplinary research environment.

 

Project

The advertised position is in the project “Tactile-visual interactions for saccade planning during free viewing and their modulation by TMS”. The project investigates how saccade planning is influenced by tactile input. The project’s focus is on connectivity between unisensory and multisensory brain regions, measured with EEG, and on the effects of disturbing these networks with TMS.

The PostDoc’s tasks are the planning, data acquisition, analysis, and publication of behavioral, EEG, and combined EEG/TMS studies.

The SFB is located in Hamburg (commonly known as the most beautiful city of the world…). Some initial training for the PostDoc is planned to take place in Peter König’s lab in Osnabrück. There will be close collaboration between the Hamburg and Osnabrück labs for the project, as well as collaboration with other EEG/MEG projects of the SFB.

 

Who we are looking for

must-have:

  • You have a university degree in a relevant subject, plus doctorate (PhD).
  • You have experience with the planning, data acquisition, analysis, and publication of EEG or MEG studies with frequency analysis, preferably with the software fieldtrip.
  • You have experience with programming to create experiments (e.g. in Matlab, Presentation, Python).
  • You like to work and integrate with a team, but you can work very independently. Applications of both new and advanced PostDocs are welcome.

good-to-have:

  • You have experience with the analysis of EEG/MEG connectivity
  • eye tracking
  • and/or TMS.

 

What next?

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Tobias Heed (tobias.heed@uni-hamburg.de).

You can find the official advertisement here.

Applications should be sent by email, in one single pdf file, to tobias.heed@uni-hamburg.de by June 15, 2015.

MSc Thesis prize

Karima Chakroun was awarded 3rd place for the best MSc thesis of the Psychology department in 2014. Karima conducted her thesis in our lab under Tobias’ supervision. Her topic was ‘„Bauchgefühl“ für den Raum – Taktil-visuelle Kongruenzeffekte bei der räumlichen Wahrnehmung des eigenen Körpers’. Congratulations!