[FieldTrip] PhD Studentship at Aston University, Birmingham, UK

Hassel, Stefanie s.hassel at aston.ac.uk
Fri May 23 13:06:23 CEST 2014

Dear all,

Please see below for information on a PhD Studentship available in the School of Life & Health Sciences at Aston University, Birmingham, UK

Using Response Inhibition and Reward Responsiveness to Investigate Risk for Psychopathology

Dr Stefanie Hassel and Prof. Klaus Kessler
Biological predisposition towards psychopathology as well as environmental events may influence whether and when symptoms surface among individuals, who are at an increased risk for psychopathology. Individuals differ in their degree of responsiveness to cues of reward or cues of threat, in goal-seeking behaviours and/or anxiety. A high degree of responsiveness to cues of reward or threat may play an additional role in placing individuals at risk for psychopathologies, especially mood disorders. For instance, high reward responsiveness on a specific behavioural task, individual characteristics like impulsivity or extreme appraisals of social approval as well as family history of psychopathology may all aid in predicting future diagnoses. This project will address the underlying mechanisms that control fluctuations in mood and behaviour, specific sensitivities which may determine the strength of a person's emotional reaction to reward or threat and investigate potential relationships between sensitivity levels to cues of reward and threat and sub-threshold symptoms of (hypo)mania and depression in individuals at increased risk for a mood disorder (or other psychopathology), compared to undergraduate students classified as not at risk. Multi-modal experimental methods will be used to examine these issues, such as behavioural task-based and questionnaire measures, as well as structural and functional neuroimaging (Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Diffusion Tensor Imaging, functional MRI and Magnetoencephalography). Outcomes from this research may be used to help inform early identification of risk factors for general psychopathology and mood disorders (depression and bipolar disorder) in particular.

The high quality of research in Aston's School of Life and Health Sciences was confirmed in the last Research Assessment Exercise (RAE): research in Allied Health Professions and Studies ranked 3rd out of 63 UK Higher Education Institutions. Additional information about research in the School can be found at http://www1.aston.ac.uk/lhs/research/

Financial Support:
The studentship comprises of a tax-free stipend of £13,863 p.a. and payment of Home/EU tuition fees only. The studentship is available for three years, subject to satisfactory progress review at the end of the first year with an anticipated Registration date of 1st October 2014.

Application Requirements:

  *   Eligible Applicants should hold at least a Bachelor (Hons.) Degree of either First Class/Upper Second Class or hold a Master's Degree in Psychology or related discipline. A demonstrable interest in affective neuroscience and/or clinical psychology is a requirement. (Supervisors are based at Aston University, and draw on expertise with experimental and neuroimaging research with healthy and clinical populations).
  *   EU Applicants will need to demonstrate adequate proficiency in English Language skills, with a minimum overall score of 101 (Internet Based) (with a minimum score in each section of: R: 23, W: 26, L: 23 and S: 22) in TOEFL or IELTS with minimum marks of 6.5 in each section and an overall band of 7.0.
  *   Informal enquiries should be addressed to the Project Supervisor, Dr Stefanie Hassel (E-mail:s.hassel at aston.ac.uk<mailto:s.hassel at aston.ac.uk>).

Closing Date:

Monday 09 June 2014



To apply please complete the on-line application form athttps://map.aston.ac.uk/urd/sits.urd/run/siw_ipp_lgn.login?process=siw_ipp_app&&code1=LHS029PR&code2=0014 Email details to a friend<http://jobs.aston.ac.uk/EmailFriend.aspx?ref=R140127>

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Stefanie Hassel, PhD
Department of Psychology
School of Life and Health Sciences
Aston University
B4 7ET

Email: s.hassel at aston.ac.uk<mailto:s.hassel at aston.ac.uk>
Phone: 0121 204 4003

Students can make an appointment with me by following this link: https://wass.aston.ac.uk/pages/login.page.php

Adjunct Assistant Professor: Dept. of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada

Adjunct Instructor: Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA

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