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Postdoc - Neurimaging in Postural control of gait and balance in Multiple Sclerosis

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  • Postdoc - Neurimaging in Postural control of gait and balance in Multiple Sclerosis

    Neuroimaging of postural control of gait and balance in patients with Multiple Sclerosis. We are recruiting one postdoctoral fellow to work on a National Multiple Sclerosis Society funded project. The postdoctoral fellow will work within Dr. Fay Horak and Dr. Brett Fling's Balance Disorders Laboratory within the Neurology Department's Movement Disorders Program at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, OR (. Training is available in multiple domains including postural control of balance and gait (Dr. Horak) and neuroimaging of the relevant neural circuitry underlying these behaviors (Dr. Fling). Neuroimaging approaches focus on resting state functional connectivity and diffusion tensor imaging in addition to task-related fMRI and utilize state of the art facilities housed in the Advanced Imaging Research Center ( Excellent clinical collaboration is provided through the Multiple Sclerosis Center of Oregon housed at OHSU (

    Projects --
    Two projects are currently available:

    1) Neural characteristics of proprioceptive-related balance deficits in Multiple Sclerosis. The major goal of this project is to determine if neural correlates of balance deficits in people with MS can be identified with diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and functional resting state magnetic resonance imaging (rsfMRI). Based on our recent success in identifying a postural/locomotor network in healthy subjects and subjects with Parkinsonís disease, we will now apply these approaches to patients with MS who have balance and gait deficits (Fling, et al, 2013 - Brain). We will also relate specific balance and gait problems to involvement of white matter and/or functional connectivity of somatosensory networks in patients with MS. These findings will provide a scientific basis for balance and gait deficits in MS that could be used as a neurophysiological biomarker for exercise studies.

    2) Quantifying ataxia during gait and relating it to somatosensory and cerebellar involvement. The major goal of this project is to validate a new, objective measure of ataxia by relating the extent of lateral gait variability in patients with MS to the international clinical ataxia rating scale (ICARS), somatosensory conduction delays, and MRI demonstrating cerebellar involvement. Ataxia is common in people with MS who have reported balance and gait problems and results from postural stepping responses to excessive lateral body center of mass displacements during gait. This project will use inertial sensors worn on the feet or inside shoes to quantify variability of lateral foot placement during 2-6 minutes of walking. Objective measures of ataxia of gait will be used as a sensitive measure of improvement with gait rehabilitation or of progression of disease.

    Eligibility --
    The positions will be available from July 1, 2014 onwards.
    There is no deadline for applications and the positions will stay open until a suitable candidate is identified.

    Funding Notes --
    Salary is commensurate with your experience and the NMSS post-doctoral salary scale.

    Contact --
    If you wish to discuss your suitability for this position or have any questions you can email:
    Dr. Brett Fling: