Two PhD Positions in Neuroscience

University of Amsterdam
March 19, 2023
Offerd Salary:€2,541
Working address:N/A
Contract Type:Other
Working Time:Full time
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Two PhD Positions in Neuroscience

Faculty/Services: Faculty of Science

Educational level: Master

Function type: PhD position

Closing date: 19.03.2023

Vacancy number: 11236

We are looking for two highly qualified and motivated PhD candidates in Neuroscience. The two positions are within the context of a large Dutch consortium “MODEM” from the ZonMW-Memorable initiative for dementia research. You are intended to closely collaborate within this larger scheme with each other as well as with the several PhD students and partners from within the consortium. Both positions are embedded respectively in the following two UvA/SILS research groups:

The research group Cellular and Computational Neuroscience , part of the SILS Neuroscience theme, investigates the regulation of neuronal excitability and synaptic plasticity mechanism that underlie learning and memory, at the level of cellular and network neuroscience using electrophysiological, live- imaging, pharmacological and molecular techniques.

The other research group, the The Brain Plasticity Group tries to understand how the brain adapts to a changing, or challenging, environment. We study changes in brain plasticity at the molecular level, structural, functional and behavioral level and want to understand how they are modified by lifestyle factors, like (early life) stress, nutrition, inflammation, physical exercise, psychoactive drugs, and changed in brain and metabolic disorders.

Project 1: Synaptic impairment underlying circuitry and network dysfunction in Alzheimer's disease Amyloid-β (Aβ), the prime suspect to cause Alzheimer's disease (AD), triggers synapse loss and alters network activity, causing memory impairment. The neurobiological substrate of such memories is (synapses on) memory engram cells. How Aβ affects the proper formation of engram cells/synapses and on network excitability is unknown. The objective of this project is to investigate how synapse and network changes corroborate to corrupt memory engrams in AD-mouse models. We hypothesize that inhibitory activity is affected by Aβ, and may play a central role in the synaptic impairments, disruption of network excitability, and memory engram formation as seen in AD. The experimental approach will combine molecular biology, electrophysiology and live-imaging techniques with behavioral tests and in vivo recordings to study the cause of AD-related memory impairment and mechanisms.

Project 2: The effects of early-life environment in modulating Alzheimer's disease progression and severity Next to genetic determinants, there is increasing evidence that lifestyle (i.e. stress and diet) are key risk factors for developing AD, especially during the early sensitive developmental period. However the mechanisms of how early-life exposures modulate AD progression and severity remains poorly understood. We are therefore looking for a highly qualified and motivated PhD student to perform the preclinical studies investigating the effects of early- life stress and early–life diet enriched with fatty acids on progression of AD (using AD mouse models) focusing on microglia and how these modulate networks, specific synapses and memory engrams. The experimental approach will combine molecular biology, electrophysiology, advanced imaging techniques, FACsorting and ex vivo glia assays and behavioral tests.

Tasks and responsibilities • complete and defend a PhD thesis within the official appointment duration of four years; • gain knowledge of the field through literature survey, discussion with team members, and internal lab meetings • contribute to the design of experiments and perform experiments; • analyse and interpret results of experiments; • enroll in the training program for PhD students in the graduate school ONWAR

(Graduate School Neurosciences Amsterdam Rotterdam); • present data at local, national and international scientific meetings; • assist in teaching undergraduates and Master's students and co-supervise junior scientists

(technicians, MSc/BSc students).

What do you have to offer?

You are passionate about science and interested in early life origins of disease and sex differences. You like a challenge and are excited about combining work on diverse animal models. You enjoy working in a diverse setting, as you will be working in a collaborative project on two different locations. Finally, you are a team player and a nice colleague with good communication skills as you will regularly join and present at consortium meetings as well as at relevant (inter)national meetings.

Your experience and profile • MSc in Biology, Neuroscience/ (neuro-)immunology or related fields; • preferably experience with big data and omics analyses and coding (e.g. python, R), performing animal experiments and

basic knowledge on classical neuroscientific methods (e.g. dissections, immunohistochemistry, western blot, PCR,

in vitro assays, cell type sorting); • good project and time management skills enabling you to meet the projects' deadlines for finishing analyses, reports

and other deliverables; • good analytical, writing and presenting skills; • flexible, readiness to participate in interdisciplinary cooperation and multidisciplinary development (verifiably focused

on collaboration with other disciplines); • fluency in English, both written and spoken and the willingness to learn Dutch (in case not Dutch native speaker).

Our offer

A temporary contract for 38 hours per week for the duration of 4 years (the initial contract will be for a period of 18 months and after satisfactory evaluation it will be extended for a total duration of 4 years). The preferred starting date is 1 May 2023 or earlier if possible. This should lead to a dissertation (PhD thesis). We will draft an educational plan that includes attendance of courses and (international) meetings. We also expect you to assist in teaching undergraduates and master students.

Your salary will range between €2,541 in the first year to €3,247 gross per month in the last year of employment, on the basis of a full working week of 38 hours. This sum does not include the 8% holiday allowance and the 8.3% year-end allowance. A favorable tax agreement, the 30% ruling, may apply to non-Dutch applicants. The Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (CAO NU) is applicable.

Besides the salary and a vibrant and challenging environment at Science Park we offer you multiple fringe benefits: • 232 holiday hours per year (based on fulltime); • multiple courses to follow from our Teaching and Learning Centre; • a complete educational program for PhD students; • a pension at ABP for which UvA pays two third part of the contribution; • the possibility to follow courses to learn Dutch; • help with housing for a studio or small apartment when you're moving from abroad.

Are you curious to read more about our extensive package of secondary employment benefits, take a look here.

About us

The University of Amsterdam is the Netherlands' largest university, offering the widest range of academic programmes. At the UvA, 30,000 students, 6,000 staff members and 3,000 PhD candidates study and work in a diverse range of fields, connected by a culture of curiosity.

The Faculty of Science has a student body of around 8,000, as well as 1,800 members of staff working in education, research or support services. Researchers and students at the Faculty of Science are fascinated by every aspect of how the world works, be it elementary particles, the birth of the universe or the functioning of the brain.

The Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences (SILS) is one of the Faculty of Science's largest institutes. Its approximately 240 scientists and staff members work in 16 research groups that perform excellent research centred on four themes: Neurosciences, Cell & Systems Biology, Green Life Sciences and Microbiology.

Want to know more about our organisation? Read more about working at the University of Amsterdam.

Any questions?

Do you have any questions or do you require additional information? Please contact:

  • Prof. dr. Helmut Kessels
  • or

  • Prof. dr. Paul Lucassen
  • Job application

    If you feel the profile fits you, and you are interested in the job, we look forward to receiving your application. There are two PhD positions available. In your motivation letter you make it clear for which project you would like to be considered and why. You can apply online via the button below. We accept applications until and including 19 March 2023.

    Applications should include the following information (all files besides your cv should be submitted in one single pdf file):

    • a detailed CV including the months (not just years) when referring to your education and work experience; • a letter of motivation in which you mention your preferred project (project 1 or project 2); • the names and email addresses of two references who can provide letters of recommendation.

    Only complete applications received within the response period via the link below will be considered.

    The interviews will be held in the course of the second half of March and April 2023.

    The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritise diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. We value a spirit of enquiry and perseverance, provide the space to keep asking questions, and promote a culture of curiosity and creativity.

    If you encounter Error GBB451, reach out to our HR Department directly. They will gladly help you continue your application.

    No agencies please.

    Apply now »

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