If you are curious about brain mechanisms and subjective experience of cognitive states and excited to build next-generation technology, you are at the right place. The Mindfulness Center at Brown University has an opening for a postdoctoral researcher to conduct research and help develop next-generation neurotechnology aimed at understanding conscious states for improving mental health and wellbeing. We are studying questions such as: “What are the neural correlates of ‘getting caught up’ in a habit or addictive thinking pattern?” “What are the behavioral mechanisms underlying stress and emotional eating, and how can we target these for therapeutic benefit?” “How can we best utilize digital delivery of treatment (e.g. app-based training) to help people overcome bad habits and addictions?” A main drive of our lab is to use these insights to develop technologies to help people in real-world settings.
For a sample of some of the work we do, watch Anderson Cooper’s brain change in real time in a video from CBS’ 60 Minutes (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5AFdPVP2Cdc) or a short (12 minute) Al Jazeera documentary on our work with craving and habit change (Breaking bad habits: Mindful addiction recovery).
This is an exciting opportunity to participate in several neuroimaging projects. We have identified biologically plausible brain targets of meditation (e.g. Brewer et al., 2011; Garrison et al., 2013; etc.) and have linked specific brain regions to cognitive states such as ‘getting caught up’ in one’s experience (Brewer et al., 2013). We have also run several NIH-funded trials to examine if app-delivered mindfulness can help individuals reduce anxiety (Roy et al., 2020; Roy et al., 2021; Gao et al., 2022), and have found that mindfulness training can target the default mode network, predicting reductions in smoking (Janes et al. 2019). We are now exploring neural correlates of mental states and if changes in brain activity can predict clinical outcomes in individuals with anxiety.
The position will be for up to 3 years (with possible extensions).
Preferred Qualifications for this position include:
- PhD in neuroscience, psychology, biomedical engineering, or related field
- Experience with fMRI acquisition and analysis (ePrime, FSL, AFNI, SPM, etc.)
- Experience with statistical analysis (e.g. SPSS, R, etc.)
- Basic programming experience (Matlab, C++, bash etc.)
- A record of publications and conference presentations
- Team-player with excellent communication skills.
Qualified candidates should submit their cover letter and CV.