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Postdoctoral Position in Computational and Cognitive Neuroscience of Psychosis and Related Behaviors

Posted: 30 Nov 2016
Columbia University
New York, New York, US

Applications are invited from talented researchers for a postdoctoral position immediately available in the Horga Lab at Columbia University Medical Center, New York, US. The initial appointment is for up to two years, with flexible start date (preferably January 2017) and opportunity for renewal. US citizenship or permanent residency is preferred but not required. The successful candidate will participate in ongoing neuroimaging and behavioral research into the computational mechanisms of sensory learning, decision-making, and probabilistic inference, particularly as they relate to psychotic phenomena (in clinical and non-clinical populations) such as hallucinations and delusions. Start date is January 2017, but later start dates are possible. Applications are accepted until the position is filled.

Among the ongoing projects at the lab (funded by the NIMH, Dana Foundation, and the Irving Institute for Clinical and Translational Research) are a computational fMRI study into predictive-coding mechanisms of hallucinations in schizophrenia, a computational fMRI study aimed at understanding the development of psychotic symptoms in prodromal individuals at clinical-high risk for psychotic disorders, a multimodal fMRI-PET-MRS study (in collaboration with Anissa Abi-Dargham’s group at Stony Brook University) into perceptual abnormalities in health and psychotic illness, and a study to validate neuromelanin-sensitive MRI as a marker for dopamine function in the substantia nigra that can be used to predict development of Parkinson’s disease and psychotic disorders in at-risk populations.

More generally, the laboratory is focused on testing and developing computational models to understand the cognitive mechanisms of belief formation and perceptual inference in health and as they relate to the pathophysiology of psychotic disorders. Our research mostly uses a combination of methods including fMRI, pharmacology, and behavioral paradigms, and we collaborate regularly with other researchers with expertise in molecular (PET) imaging, magnetic resonance spectroscopy, electrocorticography (ECoG) and single-unit recordings in humans, EEG, and neurostimulation techniques (rTMS, tDCS, DBS), among others. Using these methods, we focus on the intersection between neuromodulation by neurotransmitters such as dopamine and cognitive processes relevant for psychosis and other psychiatric disorders.

The lab, as well as the Department of Psychiatry more generally, offers and friendly and collaborative environment, excellent interdisciplinary research, training and career development opportunities, a research-dedicated 3T MRI scanner, as well as access to several facilities including EEG equipment and several 7T MRI scanners (to be operational in 2017). The lab and its facilities are located at the New York State Psychiatric Institute at Columbia University Medical Center. There are ample opportunities for collaborations with world-class groups conducting related research in neuroscience across Columbia University (including close collaborators in neuroscience, psychology, electrical engineering, and neurosurgery).


Strong applications will have the following:

  • PhD in psychology, neuroscience, psychiatry, cognitive science, or a quantitative field (e.g., computer science, engineering, physics, mathematics)
  • Fluent English
  • Strong analytical skills, statistics and programming background (preferred proficiency with computer programming in Matlab, Python, or equivalent)
  • Strong track record of research
  • Strong interest in computational and cognitive neuroscience and its application to psychiatry
  • Experience with behavioral research (decision-making/psychophysics) in humans (preferably with psychiatric populations as well)
  • Experience with fMRI and/or EEG and computational modeling are an advantage but not required

If you are interested, please send a research statement, along with a CV including a publication list, and contact information for two or more references to Dr. Guillermo Horga.