Scholarship for the PhD in Medical Sciences in the field of Neuroscience for the PhD Research Project ‘Characterization of circadian rhythm modulations in intracranial EEG and their relationship to seizure onsets in focal epilepsy’
The PhD in Medical Sciences:
The University of Nicosia Medical School offers the degree PhD in Medical Sciences. The degree is awarded to students who successfully complete an independent research programme that breaks new ground in the chosen field of study. The PhD programme aspires to empower students to become independent researchers, thus advancing innovation and development.
The Research Project:
We are currently inviting application through a competitive process for high calibre candidates to apply for one PhD Scholarship in the field of Neuroscience. The successful candidate will enrol on the PhD programme in Medical Sciences and will work under the Supervision of Prof Avgis Hadjipapas, Professor for Neuroscience and Research Methods at the University of Nicosia Medical School. The project is based on an international collaboration between the University of Nicosia Medical School, (UN) the University Maastricht University Medical Center (MUMC), Maastricht University (MU) and McGill University (McGill U). The project predominantly involves data-analysis (signal processing), which means that a large part of the project can be conducted remotely.
Title of research project: Characterization of circadian rhythm modulations in intracranial EEG and their relationship to seizure onsets in focal epilepsy
Background, rationale and objectives: Epilepsy affects roughly 1% of the population, and about a third of patients have unpredictable seizures which cannot be adequately controlled with medication (Kuhlmann et al., 2018). Therefore, better understanding of seizure generation and improving seizure predictability are central goals in epilepsy research to prevent seizures from occurring. Recent investigations by our own (Mitsis et al., 2020) and other groups (Leguia et al., 2021) have shown that seizure onsets exhibit a tight correlation to certain phases of circadian rhythms, which leads to improved seizure predictability. However, our previous work (Mitsis et al., 2020) only utilized surface EEG. In this project, and based on a collaboration formed between the University of Nicosia Medical School (UN), Maastricht University Medical Center (MUMC), Maastricht University (MU), and McGill University (McGill U), we will address this question by examining intracranial recordings provided by the MUMC partner, obtained directly from the area of the suspected epileptogenic focus. We will first characterize in detail the circadian variation of signal parameters extracted from the intracranial EEG. We will then examine whether seizure onsets are phase coupled (correlated) to these circadian modulations. This will inform both important pathophysiological questions in terms of the extent of the functional seizure generating network. Further, analysis of this correlation at the level of individual patient recordings will inform the feasibility of seizure forecasting informed by circadian rhythms. Successful candidates will benefit from interacting with an international and interdisciplinary consortium of neuroscientists, neurologists and engineers throughout the duration of the project.
Karoly, P.J., Ung, H., Grayden, D.B., Kuhlmann, L., Leyde, K., Cook, M.J., Freestone, D.R., 2017. The circadian profile of epilepsy improves seizure forecasting. Brain 140, 2169–2182. https://doi.org/10.1093/brain/awx173
Kuhlmann, L., Lehnertz, K., Richardson, M.P., Schelter, B., Zaveri, H.P., 2018. Seizure prediction — ready for a new era. Nat. Rev. Neurol. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41582-018-0055-2
Leguia, M.G., Andrzejak, R.G., Rummel, C., Fan, J.M., Mirro, E.A., Tcheng, T.K., Rao, V.R., Baud, M.O., 2021. Seizure Cycles in Focal Epilepsy. JAMA Neurol. In press, 1–10. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamaneurol.2020.5370
Mitsis, G.D., Anastasiadou, M.N., Christodoulakis, M., Papathanasiou, E.S., Papacostas, S.S., Hadjipapas, A., 2020. Functional brain networks of patients with epilepsy exhibit pronounced multiscale periodicities, which correlate with seizure onset. Hum. Brain Mapp. hbm.24930. https://doi.org/10.1002/hbm.24930
The Scholarship will have a duration of three to four years and will cover:
- The tuition fees for the PhD programme which are €13,500 in total for the first 3 years and €1,500 for year 4.
- A monthly stipend of €1,000 for the duration of three to four years.
Requirements and Qualifications:
- Eligible Candidates should hold (or hold by the time that the programme is expected to commence i.e. October 2022) a recognised degree (a Bachelor’s degree or a degree equivalent for entry to a Master’s Degree) and a Master’s degree or a Doctor of Medicine degree (e.g. MBBS or MD degree).
- As the project focuses on advanced signal processing, it would be preferable for candidate to have a first-degree qualification in Engineering, Physical or Mathematical Sciences (including Statistics) or, Computer Science or
- Candidates must have some experience in programming, preferably in MATLAB
Application for the PhD Scholarship:
Candidates should submit an online application through this link and upload the following supporting documents:
- A cover letter clearly stating that they apply for the PhD Scholarship in the field of Neuroscience for the PhD Research Project ‘Characterization of circadian rhythm modulations in intracranial EEG and their relationship to seizure onsets in focal epilepsy.’
- Copies of the applicant’s qualifications/degree(s) – the application can be assessed with scanned copies, but certified true copies must be provided if the candidate is successful and prior to enrolment on the PhD programme.
- Copies of the applicant’s transcript(s) – the application can be assessed with scanned copies, but certified true copies must be provided if the candidate is successful and prior to enrolment on the PhD programme.
- Proof of English language proficiency such as IELTS with a score of 7 overall and with a minimum score of 7 in writing or TOEFL iBT with a score of 94 overall and a minimum score of 27 in Writing. Other internationally recognized English language qualifications might be considered upon review. Students from the UK, Ireland USA, Canada (from English speaking provinces), Australia and New Zealand are exempt from the English language requirement.
- Two reference letters, of which at least one should be from an academic.
- A full Curriculum Vitae (CV).
Applications should be submitted by Monday, August 29, 2022 at 5pm. Only fully completed applications, containing all necessary supporting documents will be reviewed.
Only candidates who are shortlisted will be contacted and invited to an interview.