PhD Position in Health Sciences
ETH Zurich

PhD Position in Health Sciences

The Rehabilitation Engineering Lab (RELab) at the Department of Health Sciences and Technology at ETH Zurich is an interdisciplinary group with competencies in mechanical and electrical engineering, movement science, neurorehabilitation and neuroscience. The RELab uses robotics, wearable sensor technologies, and non-invasive neuroimaging to explore, assess and restore sensorimotor function in persons with neurological injury, to promote sensorimotor recovery and independence.

Together with the Cereneo Center for Neurology and Neurorehabilitation we are developing a novel, neuroimaging-guided therapy method to support point-of-care treatments in stroke rehabilitation, aiming to seamlessly include the brain in the neurorehabilitation therapy.

Project background

Stroke is a leading cause of long-term disability worldwide, with a strongly increasing prevalence that leaves two thirds of patients with long-term upper-limb impairments, impacting their independence and quality of life. Neurorehabilitation in stroke is a complex field, challenged by a limited understanding of the neural mechanisms underlying recovery as well as the lack of effective strategies to target these mechanisms and efficient biomarkers to evaluate and monitor therapy response.

We aim to address these challenges by combining non-invasive brain stimulation (NIBS) using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and a cortical, focal optical imaging approach using near-infrared imaging (NIRI). Our goal is to combine these two promising technologies and transfer them into a clinically viable solution to provide neurotherapy to stroke patients. The utilization of biomarker-guided assessments for novel interventions aligns with the contemporary paradigm shift towards personalized medicine in stroke research and clinical practice.

In the framework of a Bridge Discovery project, we are searching for a suitable candidate that drives the personalization of stroke treatment through the combination of repeated TMS (rTMS) with NIRI to actively target the underlying brain mechanisms involved in stroke recovery. In this position, the candidate will focus on the implementation and validation of this approach in a clinical setting. In particular, you will be responsible for developing a clinically viable rTMS neurotherapy approach that is assessed by NIRI. You will set up the study, validate it on healthy subjects and stroke patients, and analyze the data. Your task will be to correlate biomarkers derived from rTMS and NIRI with clinical outcomes, in order to personalize stroke rehabilitation and improve the recovery process. Statistical analyses will be performed as well as topological plots of brain recovery.

Job description

  • Familiarize with the TMS system available at Cereneo and the NIRI system available at RELab (optohive).
  • Define requirements for the data analysis and visualization of the results based on literature and clinicians’ input.
  • Set up study protocol for a combined rTMS and NIRI stroke rehabilitation approach.
  • Select, implement and validate biomarkers that can correlate brain recovery with clinical outcomes.
  • Map brain measurements onto structural brain images.
  • Plan and coordinate the conduction of clinical tests to validate the implemented intended approach.
  • Disseminate research outcomes at international conferences and in peer-reviewed journals.
  • Actively contribute to grant writing.

Your profile

  • A Master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering, Health Science and Technology, Medicine, or related fields.
  • Strong expertise in Neuroscience, brain networks and/or neurorehabilitation.
  • Experience with statistical analysis of clinical data.
  • Experience in programming Python and R.
  • Experience in clinical studies or working in clinical environments is a plus.
  • Experience in NIBS or NIRI is a plus.
  • Willingness to work with patients and clinicians.
  • Curiosity and motivation to perform scientifically rigorous experimental work.
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills.
  • Self-motivation, ability to work independently and solution-oriented mentality.
  • Good oral and written English and German skills.
  • Willingness to support teaching and supervise MSc/BSc student projects.


Your workplace

We offer
  • A unique and stimulating work environment within a strong and very motivated team.
  • An interdisciplinary team.
  • Collaborations with clinicians and industries.
  • A project with a strong translational focus.
  • Competitive salary according to ETH standards for doctoral students.

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We value diversity

In line with our values, ETH Zurich encourages an inclusive culture. We promote equality of opportunity, value diversity and nurture a working and learning environment in which the rights and dignity of all our staff and students are respected. Visit our Equal Opportunities and Diversity website to find out how we ensure a fair and open environment that allows everyone to grow and flourish.

Curious? So are we.

We look forward to receiving your online application with the following documents:

  • Cover letter outlining your motivation and experience in the field. Mention your earliest possible starting date
  • CV including degree certificates
  • Transcript of records

We are looking for a candidate that can start as soon as possible.

Please note that we exclusively accept applications submitted through our online application portal. Applications via email or postal services will not be considered.

Further information about the Rehabilitation Engineering Laboratory (RELab) can be found on our website. Questions regarding the position should be directed to Dr. Dominik Wyser, (no applications).

About ETH Zürich

ETH Zurich is one of the world’s leading universities specialising in science and technology. We are renowned for our excellent education, cutting-edge fundamental research and direct transfer of new knowledge into society. Over 30,000 people from more than 120 countries find our university to be a place that promotes independent thinking and an environment that inspires excellence. Located in the heart of Europe, yet forging connections all over the world, we work together to develop solutions for the global challenges of today and tomorrow.

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