PhD candidate: Neuron-glia interactions in memory

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
  • PhD candidate: Neuron-glia interactions in memory
  • University Graduate
Are you fascinated by cellular and molecular mechanism of the brain? Do you have experience in analysis of mouse models using molecular and/or imaging techniques? Do you aspire to obtain your PhD in neurobiology and would you like to work in an internationally oriented team of neurobiologists in a stimulating academic environment? Then Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam would like to get to know you. 

Location:   AMSTERDAM
Fte:           1.0

Job description

We are looking for a candidate for a 4 years PhD project that will be carried out at the Department of Molecular and Cellular Neurobiology (MCN).Recent studies have shown that in addition to neurons, glial cells play a major role in synaptic function. As yet, it is unclear to what extent glial cells are also involved in storage and retrieval of memories, and associated formation and reactivation of memory-encoding neuronal networks (engrams). The overall aim of the project is to obtain insight into the role of glia cell (i.e. astrocytes) in shaping and consolidation of a memory engram. 
The candidate will perform (chemo)genetic manipulation of astrocytes to study their structural and functional interaction with neuronal networks underlying memory storage and retrieval. For this, you will execute stereotactic surgeries to deliver viral vectors to specific brain regions implicated in memory. Furthermore, experiments will involve testing (transgenic) mice in behavioral paradigms complemented by proteomic and imaging techniques and subsequent data analyses. As such, we are looking for a candidate with an interest in molecular and cellular neuroscience. Experience with any of the techniques mentioned is an advantage.

Your duties
  • performing molecular, cellular and behavioral studies using mice
  • stereotactic surgeries in mice
  • supervising BSc and /or MSc students during internships
  • writing and authoring manuscripts which will be submitted to high quality journals
  • presenting your work to the research community (at conference calls, or
    (inter)national conferences)
  • some support with teaching activities is expected
  • finish project with awarded thesis


  • MSc degree in neuroscience (or equivalent)
  • research experience in molecular and cellular biology
  • fluent in English (spoken and written)
  • affinity with experimental animal work
​​​​​​​MSc neuroscience students that expect to graduate in 2020 are encouraged to apply

What are we offering?

A challenging position in a socially involved organization. The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel and amounts €2,325 (PhD) per month during the first year and increases to €2,972 (PhD) per month during the fourth year, based on a full-time employment. The job profile: is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for 1.0 FTE.

The appointment will initially be for 1 year. After a satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment, the contract will be extended for another 3 years.

Additionally, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:
  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus,
  • contribution to commuting expenses,
  • optional model for designing a personalized benefits package

About Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

The ambition of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is clear: to contribute to a better world through outstanding education and ground-breaking research. And to be a university where personal education and societal involvement play a leading role. Where people from different disciplines and backgrounds work together on innovations and on generating new knowledge. Our teaching and research embrace the whole spectrum of science – from the humanities, the social sciences and the pure sciences through to the life sciences and the medical sciences.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is home to more than 26,500 students. We employ more than 4,600 individuals. The VU campus is easily accessible, located in the heart of Amsterdam’s Zuidas district, a truly inspiring environment for teaching and research.

Diversity is one of our university’s core values. We are an inclusive community, and we believe that diversity and international activities enhance the quality of education and research. We are always looking for people who can enhance diversity on our campus thanks to their background and experience.

The Faculty of Science
The Faculty of Science inspires researchers and students to find sustainable solutions for complex societal issues. From forest fires to big data, from obesity to medicines and from molecules to the moon: our teaching and research programmes cover the full spectrum of the natural sciences. We share knowledge and experience with leading research institutes and industries, both here in the Netherlands and abroad.

Working at the Faculty of Science means working with students, PhD candidates and researchers, all with a clear focus on their field and a broad view of the world. We employ more than 1,250 staff members, and we are home to around 6,000 students.

About the department, institute, project
The Department of Molecular and Cellular Neurobiology at the Center for Neurogenomics and Cognitive Research in Amsterdam (see is seeking applicants for a PhD in Neuron-Glia interactions. Research at the MCN department aims to identify mechanisms of synaptic function and plasticity across many levels of organization, from molecules up to behavior in animal models of human brain disease. The position is on a collaborative project between the team of Mark Verheijen (Glial Regulated Neuronal Plasticity) and Michel van den Oever (Memory circuits).

Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button and upload your curriculum vitae and cover letter until March 1st, 2020

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

Vacancy questions 
If you have any questions regarding this vacancy, you may contact:

Name:              Dr. M. Verheijen
Position:           Team leader
Telephone:        +31 20 5987120

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