Post-Doc fellowship at the Queen Mary University of London

We are looking for potential candidates (of any nationality or residence except the United Kingdom) to apply with us for a London-based Marie Curie Individual (MSCA) Fellowship from the European Commission in order to work on our large longitudinal study on the Biological Pathways of Risk and Resilience in Syrian Refugee Children (BIOPATH). The MSCA programme ( provides attractive post-doc fellowships for up to 24 months (annual salary: approx. £42,000 / $55,000). Candidates must have a PhD (with an excellent publication track record) and not have lived in the United Kingdom (i.e., the host country) for more than 12 months in the past 3 years. We are specifically interested in candidates with expertise/interest in either psychology (developmental, resilience)genetics, or epigenetics. The successful candidate would be working with a team of internationally recognised experts in the field of mental health, developmental psychology and molecular genetics and have the opportunity to get involved in a large number of publications. The fellowship is based in London.

If you meet eligibility criteria for the MSCA programme and are interested in considering applying for this fellowship together with the BIOPATH team, please send an email with a motivation statement and your CV to by latest July 15th 2021.

The BIOPATH Project

Background: The BIOPATH project investigates psychosocial and biological predictors of refugee children’s psychological response to war-related traumatic experiences and displacement involving a large sample of Syrian refugee children in Lebanon. It is well established that children exposed to war are at increased risk for the development of mental health problems. However, in spite of the extreme adversity associated with the experience of war and displacement, there is substantial variation in how refugee children respond, with some developing severe psychological problems while others show remarkable resilience. Such individual differences in risk and resilience have been associated with a variety of protective factors including psychological, social, and biological ones. However, not much is known regarding the psychosocial and biological predictors of resilience in Syrian refugee children as well as the dynamic interplay between these factors, particularly how environmental factors interact with biological ones (i.e., genes) in the prediction of risk and resilience.

Aims: The aim of the research project is to investigate psychosocial and biological (geneticepigeneticneuroendocrine) factors in the prediction of resilience in Syrian refugee children and their caregivers based in Lebanon. All data has already been collected as part of an ongoing NIH-funded study lead by Dr Pluess and Prof Karam.

Methods: Data is available from the BIOPATH project, a NIH-funded research study aimed at investigating the biological underpinnings of individual differences in refugee children’s response to acute war-related trauma exposure. Applying a modern multilevel perspective, the study explores the intricate interplay between psychosocial, neuroendocrine, epigenetic, and genetic factors in the prediction of risk and resilience related to the experience of war in 1,600 Syrian refugee children based in Lebanon. Overcoming limitations of existing work the study takes into account both maladaptive and adaptive outcomes in response to both risk and protective factors and investigate the development of resilience over time in a large longitudinal subsample of 1,000 children (baseline and 1 year follow-up). The biological component of the study includes GWAS data, genome-wide methylation and hair samples for cortisol, testosterone and DHEA-S.

Timeline: Selectedfellowship proposals need to be submitted by October 12th. If successful, the fellowship would start in 2022-23 (exact start date can be arranged).

Queen Mary University of London (QMUL): As a member of the prestigious Russell group, QMUL is one of UK’s leading research-focused higher education institutions, where multidisciplinary research is carried out at the highest level. The university is unique in London by providing a completely integrated residential campus. 

Eligibility: Applications are invited from candidates of any nationality with a PhD (received in the previous 8 years), excellent publication record and who have not been living in the UK for more than 12 months in the last 3 years. Given the large size of the data, this project requires advanced skills in data management, computer based data analysis and statistics, and pronounced ability and motivation to acquire new analysis skills. Furthermore, this project requires excellent scientific writing skills and the ability to work independently. 

Please feel free to share this widely. Thanks a lot!

Best wishes,

Michael Pluess