Hawthorne Fellow in Autism Innovation - 104934

University of Strathclyde - School of Education

We seek a motivated, experienced scientist for data analytics of human movement patterns for early assessment of childhood neuropsychiatric disorders, especially autism. This Hawthorne Fellowship is a generous 3-year senior post-doctoral post to achieve earlier diagnosis of neurodevelopmental disorders in very young children and infants using cutting-edge wearable and smart sensor technologies.  You will be part of multidisciplinary Laboratory for Innovation in Autism, a cross-disciplinary research centre between Electronic and Electrical Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Psychology, and Education with clinical application in Neuropsychiatry.

At Strathclyde we have particular expertise in movement analysis with spin-out companies that include Vicon and the Silent Herdsman. We have psychological expertise in the role of movement and embodiment in child development and developmental neuropsychology. Your work will accelerate the development of novel, smart movement-sensing technologies for the ecological analysis of children’s motor patterns as a route to early assessment and diagnosis. You will work within an international network of clinical, educational, and academic partners to better characterise children’s motor performance during ecological iPad gameplay or during real-world activities with wearable sensors. 

You will: (i) contribute improved iPad data analytics to assess children’s motor patterns using wearable during gameplay (see http://www.nature.com/articles/srep31107) as part of a large EU H2020 diagnostic trial with the Gillberg Neuropsychiatry Centre and with a trial at the University of Southern California; (2) collaborate with autism leaders at Deakin and Melbourne Universities on analysis of whole-body movement of children; (3) and contribute your creativity and vision to build a lab that seeks innovative technological solutions to identification of risk for neurodevelopmental disorder at birth. To this end, we are currently engaged in plans for a whole-population birth cohort with the next generation of wearable IMUs. 

This is an exciting opportunity to join our laboratory and to shape its development. The analysis of movement data using light-weight wearable IMUs for neuropsychiatric purposes is an emerging field assisted by serious game frameworks for fun and ecological paradigms children enjoy. We work to define ‘motor signatures’ with computational precision in ecological contexts as important biomarkers for neurodevelopmental disorder.  Such non-invasive, accessible, and accurate assessment holds great potential. This Hawthorne Fellowship will develop the computational approaches that contribute to early assessment from deep psychological perspective of embodiment in mental health and autism (http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fnint.2013.00049/).

We seek a highly-motivated data scientist or human movement scientists broadly considered (psychologist, biomedical engineer, neuroscientist) with expertise in data analytics and machine or deep learning, and inspired to develop early assessment technologies, analytics, and paradigms. A good honours degree and PhD (or, exceptionally, equivalent professional experience) in any of Digital Health, Psychology, Neuroscience, Biomedical Engineering, Biomechanics, or Electrical and Electronic Engineering, plus relevant research experience to enable the delivery and dissemination of independent research. Candidates will have a body of published research in the field, in high quality publications and demonstrate previous research experience in a relevant discipline. Interest in neurodevelopmental disorders or wearables sensors in digital health is a significant benefit.

In this first instance, you will provide data analytics for ongoing projects supported by the EU H2020, EPSRC, Carnegie Trust, and Scottish Government. As the work develops, you will be expected to secure grants and develop the aims of the lab. The post is initially 3 years fixed term, with the possibility for extension on successful grant funding.

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