The research laboratory of Dr. Claire Gillan at Trinity College Dublin is seeking a PhD student to work on SFI-funded research focused on using data science to further our understanding of the continuum of psychosis.
Psychotic-like experiences (PLEs) refer to subthreshold forms of hallucinations and delusions, such as hearing voices or seeing things that are not there. PLEs are associated with risk for future mental health problems like schizophrenia or depression, but many people experience PLEs and never go on to have a serious mental disorder. It is currently unclear why this is, and there is limited data regarding how these experiences develop over time. This unfortunately hampers efforts to understand PLEs in the general population and find ways to intervene early and prevent transition to mental illness.
This project aims to address this by developing new smartphone-based digital tools to measure how PLEs evolve over time, studying fluctuations in their occurrence, duration and intensity, and mapping their neurocognitive correlates. In particular, the PhD student will work on developing digital markers of PLEs from passively generated smartphone data (e.g. inferring sleep changes from light sensor data, or changes in activity levels from GPS and accelerometer data) and validating these within and across persons based on regular and repeated self-report of PLEs. Finally, these methodologies will be used to develop machine learning models to predict worsening PLEs in both the near and medium-term.
Full details of the position and how to apply can be found here: Future Neuro: 4 Year PhD in Computational Psychiatry