Degree Level Required:
Professor Audrey Grant is hiring two PhD students at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at McGill University (the specific department depends on the background of the student). These research opportunities are focused on applied approaches directed towards chronic pain development, conditions featuring chronic pain, and pain sensitivity. Chronic pain is defined based on the persistence of pain experience for over three months and represents a substantial public health burden with a prevalence of 20 % in the general population. Although the genetic basis of various pain conditions (including fibromyalgia, migraine, lower back pain) is not well understood, the development of chronic pain implicates both the nervous system and immunity, and may be related to psychiatric outcomes. The overall goal of our joint research interests is to identify the molecular basis for the transition from acute to chronic pain, body site specificity vs. widespreadness across pain conditions, and pain sensitivity.
Moreover, pain and discomfort in everyday life are often treated with over-the-counter (OTC) analgesic medications (pain killers), particularly in Western countries, making analgesic medication intake a key exogenous exposure impacting on pain experience. We also aim to use pharmacogenomics approaches to consider the role of genetic variation in analgesic efficacy.
Methodology employed includes classical and emerging statistical genomics analysis techniques including machine learning. We offer a stimulating research environment at the Alan Edwards Center for Pain Research, an internationally recognized pain research institute. We are located near the McGill Genome Center, offering opportunities for exchanges with McGill’s Genomics experts. High performance parallel computing infrastructure is available through our dedicated resource allocation from the Digital Research Alliance of Canada, allowing for efficient implementation of Big Data projects.
Design and execute research project in the area of the genomic characterization of chronic pain, body site specificity vs. widespreadness across pain conditions, and pain sensitivity.
Through supervision and advice given by Prof. Grant, the students will develop a project using resources including extensive clinical and genomic data from the:
- UK Biobank
- Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging
- Orofacial Pain Prospective Evaluation and Risk Assessment Study (The OPPERA Study)
- And others.
Participate in discussions, planning, execution, and evaluation of projects together with other members of the laboratory.
Report research results and developments at laboratory meetings, scientific conferences, and in peer-reviewed scientific publications.
Communicate research in scientific conferences.
We seek PhD students to start as of August, 2023 or January, 2024. The ideal candidate should display an interest in statistical and computational approaches applied to complex traits such as pain, be in the final stages of a relevant Master’s or Bachelor’s program, and have the following:
- Strong quantitative sciences/statistics/mathematics background;
- Passion for the potential of technological innovation applications in the health or life sciences;
- Some familiarity with at least one programming language or environment such as: R, Python, perl;
- Fluent spoken and written English or French.