Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
  • University Graduate
Are you fascinated by molecular and cellular mechanisms of the brain? Are you eager to shed light on disease processes, such as Schizophrenia? 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 top-team of neurobiologists in a stimulating academic environment? Then the 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) of the Center of Neurogenomics and Cognitive Research (CNCR). 
Currently, we are far from understanding complex disorders, such as Schizophrenia. This limits the design of adequate therapy. In this project we will use mouse models of human CNVs of schizophrenia to understand the molecular pathways that are disrupted. Focus is on the 22q11 locus. In addition, we will be using postmortem human brain samples of Schizophrenia patients for a large-scale proteomics analysis. Both mouse and human brain analyses are aimed at improving our understanding of the causes of schizophrenia.
 The candidate will perform proteomics analysis of cortical and hippocampal regions of the mouse brain (in various CNV models) and study the temporal profile of protein expression during development. For specific genes a functional analysis in patient-derived (iPS) human neurons in vitro will be performed. Next to this we will perform a large-scale proteomics analysis of frontal cortex of schizophrenia patients and healthy controls.  In addition to proteomic analysis, imaging techniques and in-depth data analyses will be required. As such, we are looking for a candidate with interest and skills in molecular and cellular neuroscience. Experience with the techniques mentioned is an advantage.

Your duties
  • performing molecular analysis of mouse and human brain tissue
  • performing functional analysis of genes in neurons in vitro
  • 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, biochemistry or proteomics
  • fluent in English (spoken and written)
  • affinity with experimental work
  • affinity with data analysis
  • capability to critically reflect upon experiments, willingness to step out of the comfort zone to initiate new collaborations using novel techniques, 
  • good communication and presentation skills to guarantee efficient information exchange. 

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 Proteomic analysis of Schizophenia. Research at the MCN department aims to identify mechanisms of synaptic function and neuronal plasticity across many levels of organization, from molecules up to behavior in animal models of human brain disease. The position is part of an international collaborative project, SUN, between MCN-CNCR and Kalolinska Institute (Sweden).


Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button and upload your curriculum vitae (including courses and grades obtained) and a cover letter until March 15th, 2020

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

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

Name: Prof.dr. AB Smit
Position: Head of Department

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