Campus Biotech is a Swiss center of excellence in biotechnology and life sciences research focusing on three domains: Neuroscience & Neurotechnology, Digital Health and Global Health.

The Virtual Reality Facility (https://hnp.fcbg.ch/ ) at the Fondation Campus Biotech Geneva (FCBG) is part of the Human Neuroscience Platform, and provides researchers with state-of-the-art equipment and expertise in the field of immersive interaction and motion analysis in virtual reality for experimental research and clinical applications (e.g. cognitive and affective assessment, cognitive and behavioral therapy, neurological rehabilitation, gait and upper limb neuro-prostheses).

The internship will be co-directed by Nathan Attia and Virginie Sterpenich.

Job Description

Background and rational: Adolescence corresponds to a particular period of brain development, characterised by an uneven maturation of distinct brain regions with the prefrontal cortex being still in an early stage of maturation. Because the prefrontal cortex is involved in emotion regulation functions (among others), adolescents show heightened vulnerability to stress. Sleep plays a critical role in mental health and stress regulation. Yet, in recent times, adolescents sleep less than ever, a phenomenon often related to poor sleep hygiene and excessive screen devices use.

Overall objective: We aim to improve sleep hygiene in adolescents (15-20 year old) with a 4-week intervention procedure. We want to test is better sleep leads to better stress regulation using functional MRI.

Task: Before and after the intervention, adolescents will perform a psychosocial stress task measuring their ability to respond to stress in the MRI. The task will be adapted from the Montreal Imaging Stress Task in which participants perform challenging arithmetic calculations in a given time frame while being compared with a fictive control group. Combining such social evaluative threat with uncontrollability reliably produces elevated psychosocial stress that allows for assessing direct reactivity during the task. With the VR team, we would like to adapt this task in a more ecological environment, adapted to adolescents. We plan to model a task with variable level of complexity that need to be done in a restricted time, with negative and positive feedbacks from external person. The level of stress could be monitored online using scales or physiological measurements to adapt the difficulty of the task.

The internship is for MSc level students performing their 5/6 months final research project in 2023. The position is full-time at FCBG in Campus Biotech. Ideally, the internship would start between February and May. Small monetary compensation.

Contact
Please send your resume and cover letter to vr@fcbg.ch.
If you have any visuals to show or projects we can browse, don’t hesitate to add them as well!
We look forward to receiving your application.
  • vr@fcbg.ch

Required profile

Required:

  • Mastery of the Unity 3D and Virtual Reality applications
  • Mastery of the development language: C#
  • Knowledge of 3D software: Blender or 3ds Max
  • Knowledge of real time optimization constraints
  • Knowledge of versioning tools (Git)
  • Excellent communication and teamwork skills
  • Excellent autonomy

The "Plus":

  • Knowledge of the development language: Python
  • Fluency in English (oral and written)
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