PhD position at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona funded by the TOUCH COFUND project

Job title:

PhD position at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona funded by the TOUCH COFUND project


Job description

Offer DescriptionTopic: Nourishing Cognitive Resilience: Investigating Diet and Biomarkers in Midlife AgingA PhD position is available at the Cognition, Aging and Diet research group – Department of Psychobiology and Methodology of Health Sciences/ from the Universitat Autònoma Barcelona and e-Mental Health, Prevention, and Epidemiology in Neuropsychiatric Disorders Research group from under the supervision of (Psychobiology, Neuroscience) and (Clinical and Health Psychology). We are looking for a highly motivated candidate that will investigate the potential effectiveness of dietary habit adjustments and other interventions in predicting and mitigating the risk of MCI and AD among middle-aged adults.This research project aims to comprehensively explore the mechanisms that impact the aging process, with a specific focus on understanding the influence of environmental factors, especially diet. Studies suggest that low-calorie diets might positively influence cognitive function and aging-related changes in brain health and cognition. In addition, existing knowledge highlights that diets rich in fiber, antioxidants, and healthy fats are associated with a diverse and beneficial gut microbiota, fostering cognitive well-being and resilience against age-related cognitive decline. Conversely, diets rich in high-calorie, processed foods may disrupt the balance of gut microbiota, potentially triggering neuroinflammation and heightening susceptibility to cognitive aging. This exploration is crucial for comprehending conditions like mild cognitive impairment (MCI), serving as an intermediary stage between normal aging and significant cognitive decline disorders, such as Alzheimer’s Disease (AD).Despite the undeniable influence of biological and genetic factors on aging, a focus on modifiable factors becomes paramount for unraveling the complexities of MCI and its potential progression to AD. Moreover, intervening during midlife presents opportunities to prevent or mitigate later-life risk factors. Our proposal merges an analysis encompassing macro- and micronutrients, minerals, vitamins, and diverse dietary patterns with the evaluation of key biomarkers, including plasma hormones, pro-inflammatory parameters and intestinal health markers, on cognitive function, examined alongside through a neuropsychological assessment. The primary goal is to scrutinize the potential effectiveness of dietary habit adjustments and other interventions in predicting and mitigating the risk of MCI and AD among middle-aged adults.This project will not only facilitate our understanding of the intricate relationship between lifestyle factors and cognitive health but also establish a foundation for developing predictive models for future dementia.The successful candidate will be enrolled in the at the (UAB) in the framework of the project. TOUCH (“Towards the next generatiOn of excellent yoUng doctoral researchers on mental health by developing an intersectoral & transdisciplinary approaCH”) is a new excellent doctoral programme co-funded by the Marie Skłodowska-Curie (MSCA) Actions of the European Commission and led by the UAB for the recruitment and training of 24 doctoral candidates in the field of mental health and wellbeing.endeavors to comprehensively explore the brain mechanisms driving the aging process and assess the influence of specific environmental factors on these mechanisms. We aim to investigate the impact of diets, such as caloric restriction (CR), and the use of compounds that modulate epigenetic mechanisms (like substances regulating histone acetylation activity) on cognitive processes in aged rats. This research encompasses male and female rats spanning different age groups, evaluating cognitive function across asymptomatic, prodromal, and symptomatic stages of impairment. Our experimental approach involves a combination of behavioral, histological, biochemical, and proteomic analyses. Additionally, we are initiating research to explore the effects of diverse lifestyle factors and biomarkers on cognitive decline among middle-aged patients. The results from our investigations hold potential significance in developing behavioral strategies that foster healthier aging.. The group’s objective is to conduct multidisciplinary research across various areas, including neurodegenerative diseases, schizophrenia, bipolar disorders, autism, depression, mental illness, epilepsy, neurovascular diseases, multiple sclerosis, and genetic-based developmental malformations. The primary goal is to enhance functionality and prevent illnesses. Major research focuses include the application of new digital technologies for diagnosing and treating mental health pathologies, promoting mental health in the young adult population, and translational research to develop specific markers and biomarkers for diagnosing and treating mental health conditions.We are looking for candidates with an excellent CV, ahigh degree of ambition and motivation, and with good personal qualities to work in our Team. We offer a 3-year full-time contract (37,5 hours/week) and a gross salary of 2.375 €/month (the salary will be the same for the 3 years).The candidates must fulfil the following eligibility criteria from the EC: Mobility rule: candidates must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Spain for more than 12 months in the 36 months immediately preceding the deadline for the programme call. Experience rule: researchers must be doctoral candidates at the date of recruitment, i.e. not already in possession of a doctoral degree at the deadline of the open calls. Researchers who have successfully defended their doctoral thesis but have not yet formally awarded the doctoral degree will not be considered eligible. Candidates must hold a degree that allows admission to the official doctoral programme at UAB.Additional requirements for a stronger application are:Candidates should showcase a vocation for research and a keen interest in addressing mental health challenges. Eligibility for the PhD in Neuroscience program at UAB requires meeting academic prerequisites, including accreditation of 300 ECTS credits and proficient English speaking and writing skills. Highly regarded qualifications include:

  • Previous studies in Health Psychology, Neuropsychology, Neuroscience, Medicine, or related fields such as Biomedicine, Statistics or Biology.
  • A strong academic track record.
  • Experience in handling and analyzing quantitative data.
  • Experience or prior work on the proposed research area.

Interested applicants should apply through the TOUCH online platform by submitting a full CV, a motivation letter, two letters of recommendation and academic and English level certificates. The call will be open from the 1st of April to the 30th of June 2024. More information about the TOUCH project, the recruitment process, and the application platform are available on the .RequirementsResearch Field Psychological sciences Education Level Master Degree or equivalentResearch Field Neurosciences Education Level Master Degree or equivalentResearch Field Medical sciences Education Level Master Degree or equivalentLanguages ENGLISH Level ExcellentAdditional InformationWork Location(s)Number of offers available 1 Company/Institute Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (UAB) Country Spain City Cerdanyola del Vallès (Barcelona) GeofieldWhere to apply WebsiteContact State/ProvinceBarcelona CityCerdanyola del Vallés WebsiteStreetCampus UAB Postal Code08193 E-Mail[email protected]STATUS: EXPIRED

Expected salary



Job date

Sun, 17 Mar 2024 07:08:26 GMT

To help us track our recruitment effort, please indicate in your email/cover letter where ( you saw this job posting.

To apply for this job please visit

Job Location