Neuroscience-motivated speech processing postdoctoral position

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Neuroscience-motivated speech processing postdoctoral position

University of Pittsburgh
Country of Position: 
United States
Contact Name: 
Diane Litman
Subject Area: 
Speech and Language Processing
Start Date: 
October 20, 2016
Expiration Date: 
December 31, 2016
Position Description: 

A computational speech and language postdoctoral position is available in the University of Pittsburgh Department of Neurosurgery’s Brain Modulation Laboratory. The Postdoctoral Fellow will work closely with a mentorship team led by Julie Fiez, Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, in collaboration with co-mentors Mark Richardson, Professor of Neurological Surgery, and Diane Litman, Professor of Computer Science.  This position provides guaranteed funding for at least 3 years, through a recently awarded BRAIN Initiative grant (Research Opportunities Using Invasive Neural Recording and Stimulating Technologies in the Human Brain, U01), for which Dr. Richardson is the PI. The U01 project will use invasive deep brain electrical recording and stimulation in patients with Parkinson’s disease to study subcortical contributions to speech production.

Research Description:  An abstract of the U01 grant can be found here:

The Fellow will be part of a multidisciplinary project involving researchers affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University and Johns Hopkins. In Pittsburgh, the research group includes Michael Walsh Dickey (Communication Science and Disorders; speech comprehension and aphasia), Julie Fiez (Psychology; neural basis of speech, language and reading), Lori Holt (Psychology; auditory and speech processing and learning), Diane Litman (Computer Science; computational paralinguistics via machine learning and acoustic-prosodic analysis of speech), Tom Mitchell (Machine Learning; neural basis of word processing), Mark Richardson (Neurosurgery; human neurophysiology and clinical use of deep brain stimulation), Susan Shaiman (Communication Science and Disorders; normal and disordered motor speech control), and Rob Turner (Neurobiology; basal ganglia neurophysiology). 

Job Responsibilities: Assume an integrated role in all aspects of 1) task design, stimulus creation, and administration of behavioral protocols, 2) data collection: advisory role for pre- and post-surgical speech data collection, as well as speech data acquired intraoperatively during DBS implantation surgeries, 3) data analysis: performed independently, including application of speech processing and machine learning algorithms to analyzed collected data, and 4) manuscript and grant writing.

Job Requirements: Ph.D. in computer science, linguistics, psychology, neuroscience, communication science, or equivalent; previous research experience in computational or neurolinguistics, preferably expertise in acoustic signal processing and behavioral studies of human speech, and the ability to design and write scripts independently in R, MATLAB,  and related software. Superior organizational skills and attention to detail; ability to thrive independently, in addition to working with others; ability to handle fluctuating priorities, deadlines and changes in the clinical schedule. A good publishing record; passion for interdisciplinary speech-language research.

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