Project information:
Patients suffering from an advanced stage of laryngeal cancer often have to undergo a total surgical removal of the human voice source, the larynx. To recover the ability to speak, a prosthesis, mimicking the vocal folds, is usually placed between the trachea and the esophagus. Unfortunately, the created voice is of poor quality: it is weak, with a low fundamental frequency and sounds mechanical. It has a huge psychological impact, especially on women, who generally struggle with their new masculine voice. In addition, the limited lifetime of the devices, due to biofilm coming from mucus/material interactions, forces a frequent device replacement.
To date, there is no voice prosthesis lasting more than 3 months and able to reconstruct a natural sounding human voice. In this context, birds should attract attention. First, their vocal repertoire is incredibly diverse, with pitch spanning from 100 to 12 000 Hz, compared to only 85 to 255 Hz in human speech. Moreover, their unique vocal organ, the syrinx, produces sounds from the vibration of membranes, located in the wall of the syrinx, meaning that the air is flowing through the vocal tract without crossing any structures, unlike in mammals.
Designing prostheses based on this unique organ would not only produce voices that will sound more humane but also help to prevent from biofilm formation.

The “Birdsong for Human(e) voices” project is funded by the CRI and is led by Dr. Pauline Provini. More information on the project: https://projects.cri-paris.org/projects/tY6OqgWS/summary

Job Description:
We are searching for a highly motivated postdoc/engineer to be part of a team focusing on the Biomechanics of Birdsong.
The chosen applicant will play a substantive role in conducting the analyses of experimental data acquired through X-ray methods, they will:
  • Manage the database derived from the experiments (biplanar X-ray data, CT-scans)
  • Produce digital models of the vocal systems of several species of birds derived, from CT-scans
  • Track 3D position of markers in X-ray videos and reconstruct 3D motion of bones (using XMALab) to create 3D skeletal and soft tissue animations (using Autodesk Maya)
  • Extract relevant kinematic measurements from the 3D animations to describe the internal motions of the vocal system during head and neck motions.
  • Produce relevant figures and write a scientific publication.

Minimum Qualifications:
PhD qualification with relevant research experience in biomechanics (e.g. engineering) or a closely related field. Proven expertise in the XROMM method is important.
Knowledge of the functional morphology of vertebrates is considered as additional positive elements for the candidate, as well as skills in coding (Python, R, mel) to speed up the analyses.

Typical Hiring Range: Full-Time job 2400 Euro/month (net) according to the INSERM or University of Paris salary scale.

Location: The position can be filled completely remotely or at the Centre de Recherche Interdisciplinaire, 8bis Rue Charles V, 75004 Paris France.

Job Open/Close Date: 6-month position, starting in September 2021 (possibility of a 6-month renewal).

Institution information:
The Centre for Research and Interdisciplinarity (CRI) experiments and spreads new ways of learning, teaching, conducting research and mobilizing collective intelligence in life, learning and digital sciences. The CRI promotes scientists who thrive in dynamic environments, are inspired and motivated by daily interactions with diverse peers, work best in teams and comfortably mix disciplines, rearranging, straddling field boundaries and wish to explore uncharted domains.

Required Documents
To apply for the position, please send the following documents to Pauline.provini@cri-paris.org:
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Cover letter summarizing research interests, professional experience, and career goals.
  • Names and Contact Information for References
Please have 2 recommendations forwarded directly to Dr. Pauline Provini email address by those individuals providing the references. These should not come from the applicant.
The applicant should send the required documents as soon as possible, since the position will remain open until filled.