Postdoc in developmental psychopathology: Genetics, HPA ...
Fetal Programming – Prenatal Maternal Stress
McGill University & The Douglas Institute
We offer an exciting opportunity for trainees who are passionate about fetal programming of child, and adolescent health and disease from the point of view of genetics, gene-by-environment interactions, epigenetics, and neuroendocrine functioning.
Dr. Suzanne King (http://www.douglas.qc.ca/researcher/suzanne-king
) is running a research program on the effects of prenatal maternal stress on a broad range of developmental outcomes in the offspring, including cognitive, behavioral, motor, and physical. This program includes three studies that use natural disasters as independent stressors with quasi-random assignment of exposure levels. Project Ice Storm (http://www.mcgill.ca/projetverglas
) follows women who were pregnant during the January 1998 Quebec ice storm, and their children who are turning 13 years of age in 2011; The Iowa Flood Study follows a similar cohort exposed to floods in June 2008 with child assessments at age 4 years planned for 2012; and QF2011 studies women exposed to the Queensland, Australia floods of January 2011 and their babies, scheduled for assessments at 16 months of age in 2012. The Iowa Flood Study and QF2011 have the advantage of including pre-flood psychosocial data, and QF2011 adds biological samples from the births into the protocol.
Project Ice Storm has demonstrated significant and long-lasting effects of objective and subjective maternal stress on many areas of child development such as IQ, autistic-like symptoms, bilateral coordination, and brain structure. Many of these associations are moderated by either the timing of the ice storm in gestation, or the sex of the child.
We welcome post-doctoral candidates who wish to contribute their expertise to increase understanding of the nature of the effects of prenatal stress, and its mechanisms. We are especially interested in exploiting the DNA available in all three studies, and obtaining future funding for an epigenetics study of available blood and tissue samples. These studies also offer a wealth of data on HPA axis functioning in the women and their children that could contribute to a greater understanding of mechanisms.
The Douglas Mental Health University Institute (http://www.douglas.qc.ca/research
) is affiliated with McGill University in Montreal, and is among the top research institutes in Canada with more than 50 highly productive full time researchers in clinical, neuroscience, and psychosocial divisions. The Institute is a dynamic environment with regular seminars and workshops. The Douglas offers a biostatistics consulting service, is putting the finishing touches on a neuroimaging centre for humans and animals, has a unique phenotyping centre, and a brain bank. There are numerous opportunities for transdisciplinary collaboration.
The post-doc, funded by a grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, will work closely with Dr. King and her co-investigators on the projects, to develop and test hypotheses that shed new light on the effects and mechanisms of prenatal maternal stress. We especially encourage candidates to apply who are eager to bring concepts from genetics, epigenetics, and neuroendocrinology together in a model of fetal programming. The post-doc will have available all data previously collected, and will have opportunities to add novel measures to future waves of assessments. Publication opportunities are virtually limitless.
The start date is early 2012. The initial duration of the fellowship is two years with an option to extend the fellowship beyond that as per mutual agreement. Salaries are in line with the fellowship scales of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (http://www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca
). Applicants should have a Ph.D. (or equivalent) in neuroscience, psychology, or a related discipline. The Douglas Institute welcomes applications from all qualified individuals, including members of visible groups, minorities, women, aboriginal persons, and persons with disabilities. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority.
Applicants should submit a C.V. and relevant reprints, together with a cover letter describing current research interests and future research goals, and also arrange to have three letters of reference sent independently to:
Dr. David Laplante, Douglas Hospital Research Centre, 6875 LaSalle Blvd., Verdun, Quebec CANADA H4H 1R3. email@example.com