DETAILS OF THE OFFER
The Research Project Symptoms that patients attribute to the environment while medical examination shows no bodily malfunction are referred to as "idiopathic environmental intolerance" (IEI). People suffering from IEI single out several agents from the environment, including chemical substances and electromagnetic fields, which they blame for a wide range of chronic and unspecific symptoms such as diffuse pain, fatigue, dizziness, dyspnea, or palpitations. IEI is an emerging health issue and specific diagnostic tools as well as evidence-based treatment programs are still lacking.
In the last years, several works suggested that cognitive biases contribute to IEI. In this research project funded by the French Fondation pour la Recherche Médicale and the Agence Nationale de Sécurité Sanitaire (2022-2026), we will test the relevance of a cognitive model based on the assumption that symptoms of IEI result from impairments in interoceptive awareness. The project will combine behavioral experiments, computational modeling of behavior and beliefs, and the development and testing of a dedicated treatment program with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).
One position is available for a Post-doc fellow for 18 months extendable from February the 15th 2023 on, to work on either or both of two complementary projects:
- Computational modelling of Idiopathic Environmental Intolerance
- Brain imagery (fMRI) of patients affected by Idiopathic Environmental Intolerance
Ideal candidates are highly motivated to work on this project, good team players open to an interdisciplinary approach between medicine, cognitive science, and computational approaches, and speak and write English fluently. The applicant is expected to show excellent knowledge of scientific methods and statistics for behavioral experiments in cognitive science, psychology, or a related field. Experience with computational modelling and/or brain imagery is mandatory. A high level of proactive involvement is needed and the candidate will be expected to be physically present for the term of the project. The position offers the opportunity to train in soft skills, crucial for becoming a PI, since the postdoctoral candidate is expected to contribute to lead two PhD students working on Idiopathic Environmental Intolerance since September 2022.
Local and international medical and scientific supervision with complementary skills is organized. The main medical and scientific supervisor is Pr Cédric Lemogne, assisted by Dr Victor Pitron (both psychiatrists, MD, PhD, Hôtel-Dieu hospital, Paris). Dr Liane Schmidt (researcher at the Control-Interoception-Attention team at the Paris Brain Institute, Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital, Paris) will provide additional scientific supervision, especially for the work on computational modelling and brain imagery. Pr Damien Léger, and Dr Lynda Bensefa-Colas (both Occupational and Environmental physicians, MD, PhD, Hôtel-Dieu, Paris) will provide additional medical supervision about IEI. Three senior European researchers will offer monthly supervision: Pr Omer Van den Bergh (Leuven) and Pr Michael Witthöft (Mainz) for the work on the behavioral testing and the treatment program, Pr Giovanni Pezzulo (Rome) for the work on computational modelling.
The research team will be based at the VIFASOM lab of the Hôtel-Dieu, a beautiful hospital in the heart of ancient neighborhoods of Paris where patients will come for testing and treatment. The lab currently houses 3 PI and > 10 PhD students and engineers working on various fields of cognitive science. This will offer the opportunity for fruitful discussions and collaborations and a stimulating workplace. Close additional supervision will be provided at the Paris Brain Institute (Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital, Paris 10 mins biking away from the Hôtel-Dieu hospital) where fMRI will be offered. The city offers many opportunities for exciting scientific training and conferences.
All team supervisors endorse values of equity and diversity, and are committed to ensuring a safe, welcoming, and inclusive workplace. Everyone is therefore strongly encouraged to apply.
Application: CV, motivational and recommandation letters should be sent to Dr Victor Pitron : email@example.com
Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis and all candidates will receive full consideration.