Institute for the Bio-Cultural Study of Religion
Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Functional Neuroimaging and the Scientific Study of Religion
The Institute for the Bio-Cultural Study of Religion invites applications for a post-doctoral fellowship in functional neuroimaging and the scientific study of religion, working at the VA Boston Healthcare System with Principal Investigator Dr. Patrick McNamara, Co-Principal Investigators Dr. Raymon Durso and Dr. Wesley Wildman. The fellowship begins as soon as possible in 2013 and runs for two years with the possibility of extension for as much as a further 12 months.
The individual selected for this position will be trained in the neuroscientific study of religious cognition and the design and execution of experimental cognitive neuroscience studies in relation to religious cognition. This will involve functional neuroimaging, including analysis of structural and functional imaging parameters acquired from MRI measures of brain morphometry, white matter tissue structure from Diffusion Tensor Imaging, and resting functional brain networks. Functional connectivity analyses will be utilized to examine networks of brain regions that are highly correlated utilizing dopamine-rich regions as the initial seed. All imaging will occur on a 3-Tesla Siemens TIM Trio scanner using a Siemens 8-channel head coil.
The successful candidate will assist the PIs in overall project management; work with VA Boston Healthcare System Internal Review Board to ensure proper protections for human subjects in all studies; recruit appropriate patients and test them on protocols; supervise other project staff; score and analyze neuropsychologic and neuroimaging testing results; create and maintain project databases; conduct data quality checking and diagnostics; plan, direct, and conduct statistical analyses; and write up results for publication in papers, books, abstracts, manuals, and presentations at conferences.
IBCSR and High-Level Education
IBCSR has a close relationship with Boston University, which is the home of a cutting-edge, multi-faceted PhD program in religion and science. This degree covers the scientific study of religion, empirical psychology of religion, philosophy and history of the religion-science relationship, religion and science dialogue issues, and spirituality and health research. IBCSR contributes resources and training opportunities to several phases of that degree program.
Pictured below is IBCSR Research Fellow Kirk Wegter-McNelly's board work part way through the derivation of the central inequality in Bell's Theorem—the theorem that paved the way for experiments that demonstrated the necessity of non-locality in physics. This line of investigation has had a revolutionary effect on our understanding of the natural world, and poses significant challenges for philosophical and religious interpretations of nature.