Hasselt University

PhD student Rehabilitation Sciences and Physiotherapy - Cerebellar ageing and its impact on motor control

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Within the context of the further development of the research of the REVAL Rehabilitation Research of Hasselt University, the Faculty of Rehabilitation Sciences has a vacancy for a PhD fellow (100%) in basic brain research on ageing-related motor decline. You will be part of the Faculty of Rehabilitation Sciences at Hasselt University. This faculty organizes an education program that consists of a 3-year academic bachelor and a 2-year academic master program within Rehabilitation Sciences and Physiotherapy. This program has approximately 850 students. The faculty also provides education in the inter-university master program in Occupational Sciences.
Within the faculty, REVAL ACADEMY organizes interdisciplinary refresher courses aimed at professionals in care and rehabilitation. The proposed research will be performed within the rehabilitation research group REVAL. REVAL is an interdisciplinary and translational research group conducting research in the fields of pediatric, geriatric, neurological and musculoskeletal rehabilitation, biomechanics, health psychology, mental health and rehabilitation of internal disorders. Within the perspective of a "civic university" the RELAB platform facilitates the provision of evidence-based advice to persons with disabilities and professionals within the healthcare sector and companies. This PhD is done in collaboration with (inter)national rehabilitation centers.

Job content
With increasing age, motor functions deteriorate. Structural and functional changes in the brain are the underlying mechanism of this behavioural decline.
Up to now, most research has focused on the contribution of changes in the cerebrum, the big brain, while the cerebellum's role has been studied much less intensively. Study results from a meta-analysis by our research group show that very specific regions in the cerebellum of young adults become active during the performance of complex bimanual tasks, where coordination between both hands is crucial.
Results from another recent study even suggested that bimanual locomotion depends more on the volume of grey matter in the cerebellum than on other cortical regions. The fact that ageing is associated with cerebellar atrophy and decreased white matter integrity, therefore strongly suggests that cerebellar architecture and function play a key role in the decline of bimanual motor functions in the elderly. 
Therefore, this project aims to better map the role of cerebellar architecture and function in healthy elderly people and how this impacts bimanual motor functions. This will involve the use of methodological techniques including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and electroencephalography (EEG).


  • You hold a Master's degree in (bio)medical sciences or rehabilitation sciences and physiotherapy (or equivalent) (or equivalent)
    Final-year students are (likewise) encouraged to apply.
  • You have achieved good academic results.
  • You have a strong interest in structural fundamental research.
  • A strong affinity with rehabilitation and scientific research is a plus.
  • A strong interest in medical imaging and analyzing this data is a plus.
  • Experience with programming languages (such as Matlab, Python, etc) is a plus.
  • You have insight into setting up, executing and analyzing experimental research designs.
  • You have strong problem-solving skills, are flexible, have the necessary organizational capacity, are stress resistant and takes initiative
  • You have excellent communication skills and a good knowledge of Dutch and English, both orally and in writing.
  • You actively contribute to a positive working atmosphere where you make connections between different domains and people (practice assistants, doctoral students, postdoctoral researchers, professors).

You will be appointed and paid as PhD student.
Position for 2 years. After positive evaluation one time extendable with 2 years. Positon at Hasselt University.

Selection procedure
You can only apply online up to and including 15 June 2023.
The selection procedure consists of a preselection based on application file and an interview.
A presentation or assignment may complement the selection procedure. Interviews are scheduled in december 2022.

Further information
Prof. dr. Raf MEESEN, +32-11-292124, raf.meesen@uhasselt.be

More about working at Hasselt University? Check www.uhasselt.be/vacancies for our staff benefits.

Job details

PhD student Rehabilitation Sciences and Physiotherapy - Cerebellar ageing and its impact on motor control
Martelarenlaan 42 Hasselt, Belgium
Application deadline
2023-06-15 23:59:59
Job type
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