Multi-layer brain networks in Alzheimer’s disease

Multi-layer brain networks in Alzheimer’s disease

Published Deadline Location
31 Jan 15 Feb Amsterdam

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Be at the forefront of imaging biomarker development for Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis and prognosis!

Job description

Imaging plays a key role in identifying Alzheimer’s disease (AD): different magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) modalities measure the brain network. Diffusion tensor imaging connects directed local neural fibre segments into neuronal tracts. Functional MRI connects pairs of regions with similar oxygen-based activity contrast. Grey matter networks connect cortical regions with similar morphology that subserve related functions. All these networks have provided exciting results as potential early AD biomarkers but these networks have not yet been combined into a single multi-layer brain connectivity model.

In this project, you will develop a multi-layer brain network model that integrates all these networks measured with MRI, to detect the earliest connectivity changes associated with AD. The aims of this project are 1) to specify differences between patients in terms of the connections between these layers, 2) to validate these connection changes as biomarkers of AD, by relating them to established biomarkers in an external cohort, and 3) to make the brain network model and the new biomarkers available as open-source software.

You will work with the available multi-modal and multi-centre MRI dataset of EPAD consortium and compute structural, functional and morphological brain networks.

You will:
  • Find combination of networks that better separate participants based on clinical characteristics;
  • Create a novel biological-informed biomarker of multi-modal network disruption using Insight46, an AD imaging study in the UK;
  • Validate this biomarker in several external datasets and make the method available for other studies/clinical settings.

With your brain network model, you will detect changes in dynamic between functional and structural brain network properties in early, pre-symptomatic stages of AD.


Amsterdam UMC


We are looking for an enthusiastic and ambitious researcher with a strong interest in neuroscience, neuroimaging and methods development. You have:
  • A masters degree in Neuroscience, Technical Medicine, Medical Natural Sciences, Biomedical Science, or similar;
  • Experience with neuroimaging processing and analyses (e.g., SPM, FSL, Nilearn);
  • Programming skills (e.g., experience in Bash scripting, Python, Matlab, C++ or R);
  • Affinity with Alzheimer’s disease and/or neurodegeneration;
  • Good communication skills in English (written and verbal).

Conditions of employment

  • The PhD is four years (48 months) but you will start with a contract for one year (12 months) that can be extended (after evaluation) for another 36 months.
  • Salary scale OIO : € 2.901 tot € 3.677 gross, based on 36 hours/week. The monthly wage will increase yearly to the maximum wage in the fourth year.
  • In addition we offer an 8.3% end-of-year bonus and 8% holiday pay.
  • Free and unlimited access to our online learning environment: GoodHabitz.
  • Pension is accrued at the ABP. Amsterdam UMC contributes 70% of the premium.
  • We reimburse 75% of you public transport commuting costs. Would you rather bike? We have a good bike arrangement in place.
  • You can choose to participate in the active staff association, as well as the Young Amsterdam UMC association, which both organize fun activities and events.


Amsterdam UMC

The department of Radiology and Nuclear Medicine of the Amsterdam UMC, location VUmc, performs high quality research on Alzheimer’s disease (AD), in particular with the use of Positron Emission Tomography (PET) imaging and advanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) sequences, including functional MRI (fMRI), diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), and arterial spin labelling (ASL).

The department has a close collaboration with the Amsterdam UMC Alzheimer Center, known for its high impact clinical research. Under the leadership of Prof. Dr. Frederik Barkhof we have performed a large research study in pre-dementia subjects to improve our understanding on the pathophysiology and disease development of AD. In a personal and friendly work environment we aim to deliver first-class patient care and world-class research.


  • Research, development, innovation
  • max. 36 hours per week
  • €2901—€3677 per month
  • Doctorate
  • 10777



De Boelelaan 1117, 1081HV, Amsterdam

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