January 2020

PhD thesis proposal

Supervisor: Professeur Marcus Missal.

Summary of the project:

Professor Marcus Missal (Université catholique de Louvain, Institute of Neuroscience; Cognition and Systems, is recruiting a student to initiate a PhD research program on the topic of impulsivity in Parkinson’s disease. It has been observed that PD patients often experience trouble in controlling their impulses. This impulse control disorder might be caused by a lack of inhibition or an altered sense of elapsed time. The originality of the approach is to use an oculomotor task to assess impulsivity together with EEG recordings. The student will conduct behavioral and electrophysiological experiences with healthy subjects and PD patients and analyze the data. Paper writing will be done in collaboration with the PhD supervisor.


  • A good command of English or French.
  • A background education in neuroscience (Master level).
  • A good knowledge of statistics (ANOVA, MANOVA, SPSS or R).
  • Matlab or Python programming skills (a free training is available during the 1st year of the program).
  • A curious and independent mind.
  • Financing:

A one year starting grant is provided by the ‘Fondation Louvain’. Thereafter, the candidate will postulate to research funds in Belgium (FRS-FNRS, FRIA) to obtain an additional grant.



December 2019

PhD position at the Institute of Neuroscience of the University of Louvain (Brussels, Belgium)

The Pain Research Lab at the UCLouvain tries to understand the neural mechanisms underlying the perception of pain and its impairments in humans. The lab is looking for a PhD candidate to conduct a research project aimed to investigate the influence of attentional processes on the development of central sensitization to painful stimuli using behavioral and physiological measures (see abstract below). The project will be supervised by Valéry Legrain.

The project is funded by the F.R.S.-FNRS, the fund for Scientific Research of French-speaking Belgium, covering the salary of the enrolled PhD candidate for 4 years and his/her functioning budget. Position should start between 1st of January and 1st July 2020.

The candidate should hold at the starting of the position a Master degree or equivalent in a relevant discipline such as Experimental Psychology, Neuropsychology, Neuroscience, Biomedical & Health Sciences. The candidate should have experience in designing experiments, collecting, analyzing and communicating data. He/she should have good communication skills in English (despite the French language is the official language of the institution, its mastering is not mandatory). Experience in programming is an added value (e.g. Matlab or equivalent).

The candidate should submit (1) a detailed CV summarizing experience, background, and communication outputs if available, (2) a summary of research interests, and (3) recommendation letters from at least two references. Please send the required documents as a single pdf file to Prof. Valéry Legrain ( There is not specific deadline to apply, applications will be considered until the position is filled.

Summary of the project: Pain is an emergency signal warning the brain about the occurrence of a stimulus having the potential to damage the body. Sensitization is a process that consists in amplifying the response to pain consecutive to the repetition of the noxious stimulation. Sensitization is thought to play a role in the development of chronic pain. On the other side, psychological factors are known to modulate the experience of pain and are also suggested to play a role in the development and the maintenance of chronic pain. It is therefore hypothesized that cognitive factors such as attention could influence the risk of chronic pain by modulating the strength and the extent of sensitization. This project aims at observing in healthy volunteers the impact of attention on a lab model of sensitization of the central nervous system consecutive to repeated experimentally-induced painful electrical stimuli. More precisely, the project aims to manipulate the attention that participants direct to vs. discard from the painful stimuli during their induction and to observe how it modulates secondary hyperalgesia, i.e. the increased sensitivity to mechanical pinprick stimuli applied several tens of minutes later around the sensitized skin area. Manipulating different attentional aspects, it is predicted that voluntarily directing attention towards the sensitized limb will increase the consequences of sensitization. (for more details see here and here).

January 2019

Recruitment for a PhD in Neuroscience


The CHU UCL Namur and the Institute of Neuroscience (IoNS) of the UCLouvain are looking for a top-class PhD student to run a multidisciplinary research in NeuroScience.

The project aims at quantifying motor function recovery and motor learning in the early phase of stroke by means of robotics, and at correlating recovery and motor learning with functional MRI.


The successful candidate will have a strong scientific or medical background and experience with Matlab programming, and/or fMRI, and/or robotics applied to neuroscience/human movements, and/or neuroscience.


The project will start immediately after the selection of the candidate.


The project will be run in the Stroke Unit of the CHU UCL Namur (Mont-Godinne), with French-speaking patients. Therefore, if you do NOT speak French fluently, please do NOT apply.

The application will include a full CV; a letter of motivation underlying why the candidate is the best suited for this project; and 2 letters of recommendation.


Please send your application to:

Pr Yves Vandermeeren, MD, PhD