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Korea-Tübingen PhD Program: Project 17/2024: PhD Project Title: Functional and metabolic signatures of psychedelics’ effects in the brain

Topic Description: Psychedelics are likely to become mainstream in our society, under the pressure of both their therapeutic potential in psychiatric disorders (e.g., treatment-resistant depression and PTSD) and the force of capital. Despite the surge in scientific interest, very few studies have focused on potential harms associated with abuse of these substances. In this project, we will employ simultaneous fPET-fMRI to study concurrent changes in blood oxygenation and glucose metabolism during the administration of psychedelic drugs, such as MDMA, LSD, and Ketamine. We aim to advance the identification of functional and neurochemical brain signatures that are related to the negative effects of psychedelics, including perceptual distortions, hallucinations, and dissociative symptoms. Introducing the use of psychedelics in a scientifically informed and ethically rigorous way could minimize risks and support their potential usefulness in tackling the mental health crisis.

Faculty: Faculty of Medicine
Institute/Section/Subject: Department of Preclinical Imaging and Radiopharmacy

Supervising Professor(s): Prof. Kristina Herfert

About the Supervisor(s): Prof. Herfert is Associate Professor for Functional and Metabolic Brain Imaging. Our research group investigates brain function using hybrid fPET/fMRI systems. For more information, please visit: [](

Requirements for the application:
Required Degrees: Master’s degree in neuroscience, cognitive science, computer science, physics or a related natural science or engineering field
Language Requirements: English (IELTS 6,5 or TOEFL equivalent)
Notes: We are looking for students who are interested and have a good background knowledge in brain science. Students should have good programming skills (e.g., in MATLAB, Python), they should be motivated, responsible, and have good teamwork skills. Projects can be adapted according to the interests, skills, and needs of the student.

For further instructions on how to apply, more information on the program and contact details please see below.
Korea-Tübingen PhD Program
The University of Tübingen have established a PhD Program which supports Korean nationals from partner Universities wishing to carry out all or part of their PhD study in Tübingen.

  • Cheju National University
  • Chonbuk National University
  • Chungnam National University
  • Ewha Womans University
  • Hanyang University
  • Korea University
  • Pusan National University
  • Seoul National University
  • Sogang University
  • Sookmyung Women's University
  • Sungkyunkwan University
  • Yonsei University

  • Aims:
    • providing high quality research training to qualified students from Korean universities
    • developing education and research collaborations between the University of Tübingen and Korean universities and research institutions

    Target group:
    Excellent postgraduate and doctoral students from Korean partner universities who are citizens and permanent residents of the Republic of Korea at the time of application

    Application Process:
    • June 30: Application deadline. Applications must be handed in through the online application system of the University of Tübingen
    • between July 4 and 7: round of interviews in English
    • by July 30: Successful applicants will be officially informed and provided letters of admission.
    • by Oct 1: Program participants arrive in Tübingen

    • How to Apply:
      In order to apply you need to upload the following documents combined in 1 PDF
      • Cover/Motivation letter with the description of academic characteristics that qualify you to complete the PhD project successfully
      • CV
      • Academic transcripts*
      • Proof of proficient English language skills - TOEFL iBT 95 or IELTS 6.5 or equivalent

      *List of required Academic transcripts (including official translation into German or English for documents issued in Korean)
      1) Bachelor’s Degree Award Certificate / Bachelor Gradverleihungsurkunde
      2) Transcript of the subjects and marks / Fächer- und Notenübersicht for your Bachelor’s degree/ für das Bachelorstudium
      3) Master’s Degree Award Certificate / Master-Gradverleihungsurkunde
      4) Transcript of the subjects and marks for your Master’s Degree / Fächer- und Notenübersicht für das Masterstudium

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