Postdoc on the Impact of Maternal Immune Activation on Offspring Development

WorkplaceUtrecht, Utrecht, Netherlands

Postdoc on the Impact of Maternal Immune Activation on Offspring Development

Faculty: Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences Department: Psychology Hours per week: 28 to 32 Application deadline:

This position is part of the PRINDOUT project, focused on understanding the impact of maternal respiratory infections and immune activation on offspring development, particularly in relation to neurocognitive development. In the project, expertise from (developmental) neurocognition, pediatrics, epidemiology, and immunology from Utrecht University ( Professor Chantal Kemner ), the University Medical Centre Utrecht (Dr Patricia Bruijning), and Radboud University Medical Centre (Dr. Lilly Verhagen) will be integrated.

Your job

You will be supervised jointly by Professor Kemner (UU, Experimental Psychology) and Dr Bruijning (UMCU, Julius Center). The department of Experimental Psychology focuses its research on exploring human cognition and emotion, at the fundamental, the neurobiological and the applied level. At the Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary care, epidemiologists and data scientists work together, e.g. in the study of acute infections and non-communicable (developmental) health outcomes and how these are related.

You will analyse data regarding the development of brain networks, attention, and self-control in infants and relate these to markers of infection and immune activation during pregnancy. There will be a close collaboration with another postdoc, responsible for assessing the type and severity of potential infections and immune responses through the blood and saliva of pregnant women.

Other responsibilities are:

  • analysing EEG (specifically network analyses using graph theory), eyetracking (attention parameters) and questionnaires (with a focus on behavioural control) data from the YOUth infant datasets;
  • developing an integrated statistical analysis plan to unravel how infections during pregnancy relate to developmental outcomes in young children as measured by EEG, eyetracking and behaviour;
  • collaborating with scientists from diverse backgrounds to analyse and interpret data, contributing to a comprehensive understanding of the interplay between respiratory infections, immune responses, and child neurocognitive development;
  • presenting research findings through oral presentations and written publications;
  • developing and executing a comprehensive data management plan (together with the datamanager) for integration of results in the Youth database;
  • communicating these insights to targeted stakeholder groups and the general public through a dedicated outreach strategy;
  • general (co)organisation of team meetings.

Your qualities

You would excel in this position if you have the following qualifications:

  • a PhD with proven track record in (developmental) cognitive neuroscience, cognitive psychology, neuropsychology;
  • expertise with the analysis of neurocognitive datasets (e.g. EEG, eyetracking);
  • proven interest in advanced statistical methods;
  • proven ability to work independently as well as collaboratively, preferably within a multidisciplinary team;
  • excellent writing skills and a track record of scientific accomplishment demonstrated by peer-reviewed publications;
  • proficiency in English, both orally and in writing;
  • excellent communication and organisational skills.

Our offer

We offer:

  • a temporary position for 12 months on this project with the possibility of an extension up until 48 months;
  • a working week of 28-32 hours and a full-time gross salary between ¤3,226 and ¤5,090 (scale 10 of the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities (CAO));
  • 8% holiday bonus and 8.3% end-of-year bonus;
  • a pension scheme, partially paid parental leave, and flexible employment conditions based on the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities.

In addition to the terms of employment laid down in the CAO NU, Utrecht University has a number of schemes and facilities of its own for employees. This includes schemes facilitating professional development , leave schemes and schemes for sports and cultural activities , as well as discounts on software and other IT products. We also offer access to additional employee benefits through our Terms of Employment Options Model. In this way, we encourage our employees to continue to invest in their growth. For more information, please visit Working at Utrecht University .

About us

A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University , the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major strategic themes . Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Pathways to Sustainability. Sharing science, shaping tomorrow .

The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences is one of the leading faculties in Europe providing research and academic teaching in cultural anthropology, educational sciences, interdisciplinary social science, pedagogical sciences, psychology, and sociology. Almost 7,000 students are enrolled in a broad range of undergraduate and graduate programmes. The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences has some 1,100 faculty and staff members, all providing their individual contribution to the training and education of young talent and to the research into and finding solutions for scientific and societal issues. The faculty is located at Utrecht Science Park near the historical city centre of Utrecht.

More information

For more information about this position, please contact Professor Chantal Kemner at .

Please note that international candidates that need a visa/work permit for the Netherlands require at least four months processing time after selection and acceptance. Our International Service Desk (ISD) can answer your questions about living in the Netherlands as international staff . Finding appropriate housing in or near Utrecht is your own responsibility, but the ISD may be able to advise you therewith. In case of general questions about working and living in The Netherlands, please consult the Dutch Mobility Portal .

Candidates for this vacancy will be recruited by Utrecht University.

As Utrecht University, we want to be a home for everyone. We value staff with diverse backgrounds, perspectives and identities, including cultural, religious or ethnic background, gender, sexual orientation, disability or age. We strive to create a safe and inclusive environment in which everyone can flourish and contribute.

To apply, please send your curriculum vitae, including a letter of motivation, via the ’apply now’ button.

The first round of interviews takes place 27 June 2024 in the morning. Our preferred start date is 1 September 2024.

The application deadline is 16 June 2024.

In your application, please refer to and reference JobID 17659.