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Postdoc: Modeling skeletal muscle adaptation for the control of rehabilitation robots across large temporal scales

Job description

Are you interested in developing breakthrough technologies for human walking rehabilitation? Do you want to understand how skeletal muscles change their biological structure in response to mechanical stimuli and how rehabilitation robots (e.g., exoskeletons, robotic dynamometers) can steer such structural changes over time?

The Neuro-Mechanical Modeling and Engineering Lab is seeking for an outstanding post-doctoral fellow to work within the ERC project INTERACT. You will join an international team working on a high-gain/high-risk project at the frontiers of neurophysiology, biomechanics and robotics

The opening:

Neurological injuries such as stroke leave millions of people disabled worldwide every year. Motor improvement is promoted via physical training with an appropriate afferent input to the nervous system and mechanical loads to muscles. If neuro-rehabilitation robots could be controlled to generate optimal electrical and mechanical stimuli to the neuromuscular system, then a new era in rehabilitation would begin!

Your tasks will be:

  • To build computational models to predict structural changes in skeletal muscles (e.g., muscle lengthening, strengthening) across temporal scales (e.g., days to weeks).
  • To integrate the above-listed predictive models into adaptive controllers for robotic exoskeletons and dynamometers.
  • To cooperate with team members on multi-week experiments to induce target muscle adaptations via predictive control of robotic technologies.
  • To cooperate with team members to maintain and document existing musculoskeletal modelling and robotic control code repositories.

Your work will be facilitated by in-house expertise and mentorship. You will collaborate with top scientists on aspects including exoskeleton control, muscle modelling, statistical modelling, giving large opportunity of growth and to perform impactful research!

Your profile

  • Computational modelling of skeletal muscle or tendon structural adaptation.
  • Control of assistive robots, e.g., exoskeletons, dynamometers, etc.
  • Scripting (e.g. MATLAB, Python).
  • C object-oriented programming language (experience with CMake and repository management is a plus).
  • Interpersonal and organizational skills, motivation, and communication (oral and written) ability.
  • Proficient in written and oral English.

Our offer

We offer a position with a generous allowance:

  • A  full-time contract for 24 months
  • A gross salary between € 3.353,- and € 4.402,-  per month , depending on experience and qualifications.
  • An annual holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary, and an annual end of year bonus of 8.3%.
  • A solid pension scheme.
  • Minimum of 29 leave days in case of full-time employment.
  • The University of Twente is situated on a green and lively campus with lots of facilities for sports and other extracurricular activities
  • Outstanding research facilities and working environment
  • Proximity to Enschede, a mid-size city with a large social offer, embedded in the beautiful nature of the Twente region.
  • Fun work atmosphere with social events such as lab retreats.

Information and application

You can apply for this position before 18th of September 2021 by clicking the ‘apply now’ button below. Please include the following:

  • A video (2-minute max) describing your scientific interests and why you are applying for this position.
  • A cover letter (1-page max) specifying how your experience and skills match the position as well as summarizing your PhD work.
  • A CV including English proficiency level, nationality, visa requirements, date of birth, experience overview, and publication list.
  • Contact information for at least two academic references. A support letter will be requested by us only if your application is considered

The last possible starting date for this position is January 1st, 2022. For questions, please contact Prof. Massimo Sartori, mail: m.sartori@utwente.nl.

About the department

ERC project INTERACT aims to develop predictive models of the neuromuscular system to establish new closed-loop control methods for robotics-based neuro-rehabilitation. With a focus on spinal cord electrical stimulation and robotic exoskeleton, we will demonstrate how motor dysfunction is repaired by inducing optimal changes in neuromuscular targets.

 The European Research Council (ERC)'s mission is to encourage the highest quality research in Europe through competitive funding and to support the best of the best in Europe's frontiers research https://erc.europa.eu

About the organization

The Faculty of Engineering Technology (ET) engages in education and research Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering and Industrial Design Engineering with a view to enabling society and industry to innovate and create value using sound, efficient and sustainable technology. We are part of a ‘people-first' university of technology, taking our place as an internationally leading centre for smart production, processes and devices in five domains: Health Technology, Maintenance, Smart Regions, Smart Industry and Sustainable Resources. Our faculty is home to some 1,800 Bachelor's and Master's students, 400 employees and 150 PhD candidates and offers three degree programmes: Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering and Industrial Design Engineering. Our educational and research programme are closely connected with UT research institutes Mesa+ Institute, TechMed Centra and Digital Society Institute.

University of Twente (UT)

University of Twente (UT) has entered the new decade with an ambitious, new vision, mission and strategy. As ‘the ultimate people-first university of technology' we are rapidly expanding on our High Tech Human Touch philosophy and the unique role it affords us in society. Everything we do is aimed at maximum impact on people, society and connections through the sustainable utilisation of science and technology. We want to contribute to the development of a fair, digital and sustainable society through our open, inclusive and entrepreneurial attitude. This attitude permeates everything we do and is present in every one of UT's departments and faculties. Building on our rich legacy in merging technical and social sciences, we focus on five distinguishing research domains: Improving healthcare by personalised technologies; Creating intelligent manufacturing systems; Shaping our world with smart materials; Engineering our digital society; and Engineering for a resilient world.

As an employer, University of Twente offers jobs that matter. We equip you as a staff member to shape new opportunities both for yourself and for our society. With us, you will be part of a leading tech university that is changing our world for the better. We offer an open, inclusive and entrepreneurial climate, in which we encourage you to make healthy choices, for example, with our flexible, customisable conditions.

Postdoc: Modeling skeletal muscle adaptation for the control of rehabilitation robots across large temporal scales
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