Nutrition and Neurodevelopment PhD Fellowships 2020/2021 at the University of Ghana

Applications are open for Ghanaian PhD Fellowships in Nutrition and Neurodevelopment 2020/2021 at the University of Ghana.

Three PhD students are being recruited for an exciting research project aiming to understand the effect of nutrition during the first 1000 days from conception on the long-term development of the central and autonomic nervous systems.


Nutrition and Neurodevelopment PhD Fellowships

The International Lipid-Based Nutrient Supplements Project in Ghana was a randomized trial that provided lipid-based nutrient supplements (LNS) to pregnant women from ≤ 20 weeks of gestation through 6 months postpartum and to their children from age 6 to 18 months (n=440) in 2009-2014, comparing outcomes to control groups who received maternal micronutrient capsules during pregnancy and postpartum (n=880). Receiving LNS predicted fewer social-emotional difficulties at age 4-6 years, especially among children from disadvantaged home environments.

In the current project, we will examine the long-term effects of SQ-LNS during pregnancy and infancy on autonomic nervous system regulation and white matter microstructure properties at age 8-12 years, and determine whether neural effects account for protective effects of LNS on social-emotional functioning at this age. We will examine neural effects using structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and measures of autonomic nervous system (ANS) activity, including electrocardiogram and impedance cardiography, in conjunction with a detailed battery of behavioral assessments.

We are recruiting three PhD students, one to focus on MRI data acquisition and analysis, one to focus on ANS data acquisition and analysis, and one to focus on behavioral assessment data acquisition and analysis. All students will have the opportunity to cross-train on the different methods.


Applicants should have a Master’s degree or equivalent in nutrition, psychology, radiology, neuroscience, public health, or related disciplines. Basic coursework in biological sciences is required. Experience working in community-based research is preferred. Excellent verbal communication skills, data analytic skills, and writing skills in English are a precondition.

Position description

The student will enroll in the PhD program in Nutrition and Food Science at the University of Ghana and will have the opportunity to spend 9 months at the University of California, Davis, USA. The fellowship is funded by a grant from the US National Institutes of Health and will cover tuition and living stipend for a period of up to 4 years for 3 Ghanaian students, subject to satisfactory progress.

Nutrition and Neurodevelopment PhD Fellowships Eligibility

  • Applicants must be a Ghanaian
  • Applicants should normally be under 35 years of age
  • Applicants must be willing to pursue a fulltime PhD study
  • Applicant should be able to conduct statistical analysis of data independently
  • Applicants must meet the standard University of Ghana admission requirements for PhD.

How to Apply for Nutrition and Neurodevelopment PhD Fellowships

If you meet the eligibility criteria, kindly complete the online form and attach the following documents in English:

  • A cover letter explaining your interest in the project
  • A complete curriculum vitae (CV), including statistical analysis skills and software and research experience
  • A one-page essay on the role of nutrition in child development
  • At least 1 letter of recommendation

For further enquiries, please send an email to [email protected].

Only shortlisted applicants will be contacted for interview.


Deadline: January 15, 2020

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