Project Title  Sensory-motor processing as a transdiagnostic mechanism underlying FD
Host institution  Technical University Munich, Germany
Supervisor  Prof. Nadine Lehnen
Required qualifications  This project can be approached from different angles within our interdisciplinary team. We welcome applicants with a degree in medicine, psychology, physiotherapy, behavioral, systems or computational neuroscience, health or sport sciences, engineering or mathematics.
Duration   36 months


The main goal of this project is to test whether there is evidence for a trans-diagnostic mechanism underlying FD, characterized by erroneous sensory processing in the brain. We will approach this questions studying patients with FD characterized by movement symptoms and dizziness. We will use a computational-experimental approach to investigate whether sensory-motor processing is similarly affected in patients with functional movement disorders and patients with functional dizziness. Eye and head movements will be measured in an experimental situation before, during and after an increase of the head moment of inertia. The experimental results together with computational modelling based on robust control will allow us to assess the interplay between sensory input and expectation. 

Expected Results: 

  1. Information on sensory-motor processing in patients with FD
  2. Information on sensory-motor processing in patients with functional movement disorders compared to in patients with functional dizziness
  3. Refined (computational) model of the underlying mechanism that informs diagnostic too

Planned secondments and research visits: 

  1. National Research Council of Italy, Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies (ISTC-CNR), Rome, Italy (Dr. Pezzulo); Start: Month 12; Dura-tion: 4 months; Aim: learn about computational modelling of sensory processing
  2. Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz (JGU), Mainz, Germany (Prof. Witthöft); Start: Month 16; Duration: 3 months; Aim: learn about experimental approaches relevant to FD
  3. EyeSeeTec GmbH (EST), Munich, Germany (Prof. Schneider); Start: Month 34; Duration: 4 months; Aim: gain insight into technical development of a diagnostic tool within a company setting