Recent studies suggest that Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are associated to an atypical brain connectivity resulting from an abnormal developmental trajectory. Nevertheless, studies and data in this area show little reproducibility and are sometimes contradictory. It is difficult to identify atypical developmental pattern, due to the large variability of measurements across the population and to the heterogeneity of the cortical maturation both temporally and spatially.
In this project we will use new markers of cortical folding: the sulcal pits [1,2], the deepest point of cortical folds around which the folding process occurs during fetal development. A few studies have shown that sulcal pits are potentially good markers of normal and abnormal cortical folding [3,4]. A recent study performed at the Institut de Neurosciences de La Timone (INT) demonstrated the potential of sulcal pits as structural markers for ASD . This project aims at characterizing the spatio-temporal dynamics of sulcal pits in order to characterize typical and atypical ASD-related development, from the fetal stage to adulthood.
pitsMapGroup map of sulcal pits density
fetalFetal MR images and corresponding reconstructed cortical surfaces
We are looking for a highly motivated post-doc with a strong background in image processing for neuroscience, and an interest for developmental and clinical studies. In the first phase of the project he/she will have to analyze fetal and pediatric MR data in order to quantify the spatio-temporal trajectories of sulcal pits. In the second part of the project he/she will have to analyze pathological images from a database of ASD subjects in order to detect structural abnormalities.
Institut de Neurosciences de la Timone
A PhD in a related domain is a requirement. The candidate should ideally have a good knowledge in neuroimaging, image processing, and statistical analysis. Programming skills (ideally in Python) are necessary. He/she will collaborate with C. Deruelle (SCALP team), O. Coulon and J. Lefèvre (MeCA team) and perform his/her research at the INT. He/she will also have to interact with the neuroradiology department in the nearby University Hospital (Hôpital de la Timone).
Duration: two years
Expected to start in September 2016