Post-doctoral research fellow (f/m/d)
E13 TV-L 100%, 3 years

  • University Hospital Würzburg - Clinic and Polyclinic for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychosomatics and Psychotherapy
  • 01.10.2024
  • Full-time
  • Fixed-Term

Application deadline: 29/07/2024

Are you an experienced researcher with a strong interest in the clinical applications of Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience? The University Hospital Würzburg offers an exciting position as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the field of Developmental Computational Psychiatry. In this role, you will work on the project "Neurocomputational reinforcement learning models of reward learning and cognition in childhood ADHD: effects of methylphenidate treatment and relation to treatment response," funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). You will work under the supervision of Prof. Lorenz Deserno in an interdisciplinary team of psychologists, neuroscientists, and medical doctors.

We offer

  • Working in a friendly and interdisciplinary team (psychologists, neuroscientist, medical doctors) who use computational psychiatry approaches to understand clinical phenomena with regard to the development of mental health problems.
  • Close scientific supervision by an enthusiastic project leader
  • Arranging for flexible working hours to find a balance between work as well as private or family life

The successful candidate will be part of a dynamic research team that values curiosity and team spirit. Our research group has access to an excellent research infrastructure (behavioural and online testing, EEG, MRI, computing resources) and is well integrated into the local, national and international research community. We value diversity in terms of ethnicity, gender identity or expression, disability, internationality, and other characteristics. Our goal is to optimally promote the professional development of all members.

Your Tasks

Methylphenidate (MPH) is the first-line pharmacological treatment in childhood Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). However, 20-30% of the patients do not respond to MPH treatment and 30-50% experience only partial remission. Delineating the neurobehavioral correlates of MPH treatment, and their relation to the variability in treatment response, may both further our understanding of the broad neurobehavioral aberrations present in ADHD and facilitate treatment outcome prediction in the future.

The neurocomputational framework of reinforcement learning advanced insight to how monoaminergic drugs, including MPH, shape neurocognitive functioning in healthy individuals. Despite the availability of such computational probes, investigations on MPH treatment effects in childhood ADHD have not yet made use of these methodological advancements.

The present project aims to address how MPH treatment in childhood ADHD impacts the interplay of reward learning and cognitive performance and whether this relates to differences in MPH treatment response. Experiments will be conducted during functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) and Electroencephalography (EEG) and will be analyzed with computational models of reinforcement learning.

This post-doc position is ideal for candidates with a strong interest in clinical applications of Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience and enthusiasm for interdisciplinary clinical research (“Computational Psychiatry”). The project is funded by a grant from the German Research Foundation (DFG) to Lorenz Deserno. The candidate will be based in Würzburg.

Preparing and conducting behavioural experiments in children, adolescents and adults and in children and adolescents with ADHD

  • Analysing experimental behavioural data with a variety of methods including a focus on computational models of reinforcement learning
  • Analysing neural data, fMRI and/or EEG, based on reinforcement learning models
  • Preparing manuscripts and presenting results at conferences
  • Exchange within a collaborative and interdisciplinary team including clinicians at our local clinical services to facilitate patient recruitment. Prof. Deserno has the clinical lead of the ADHD outpatient service

Your Profile

  • PhD in Psychology, Neuroscience, Cognitive Science, Computer Science, Medicine, or related disciplines (or shortly before completion)
  • Experience with task-based functional MRI or EEG; ideally in model-based or computational neuroimaging
  • Experience in conducting and analysing behavioural experimental data (e.g. mixed effects models)
  • Keen interest to learn (or ideally existing experience with) computational modelling of behavioural data (e.g. reinforcement learning) data analysis
  • Existing programming skills in Matlab, R or Python etc.
  • Keen interest in experimental approaches to study complex human behaviour
  • Interest to achieve clinical insight with cognitive neuroscience / computational psychiatry methods
  • An additional background in clinical psychology, psychotherapy or psychiatry is not required but could be plus

Please do not hesitate to reach out to Lorenz Deserno (deserno_l@ukw.de) with questions!

This is what you can look forward to

  • Training and Continuing Education
  • Retirement Pension Plan
  • Flexible Working Hours
  • Collegiality
  • Sport and Fitness Options
  • Employee Events
  • Corporate Benefits

Become part of the team: Apply now!

Prof. Dr. Lorenz Deserno
W2-Professur für Experimentelle Neurowissenschaften in der Entwicklungspsychiatrie
Tel: +49931 201 78035


In the case of a university degree from a non-EU country, a long version of the certificate evaluation from the Central Office for Foreign Education is required.

Remuneration is in accordance with the relevant collective agreements. Severely disabled applicants will be given preference if they are otherwise equally qualified.

The University Hospital of Würzburg (UKW) offers an innovative and excellent working environment in cutting-edge medicine. Here, employees benefit from state-of-the-art technology, extensive training and career opportunities as well as flexible working time models for an optimal work-life balance. We attach great importance to diversity and inclusion in order to create a respectful and supportive working environment. A strong sense of community and interdisciplinary collaboration are central to our way of working. Würzburg, a city with a high quality of life, offers a wide range of cultural and leisure activities as well as excellent educational opportunities. The UKW takes responsibility for the health of society and promotes an environment that focuses on ethical values and social commitment. Become part of our team and help shape the future of medicine.