Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
  • Doctorate
Are you fascinated by the cellular mechanisms of the brain? Are you eager to shed light on disease processes, such as stress-related memory impairment? Do you have hands-on experience in electrophysiological recording in combination with behavioral and molecular analyses? Do you aspire to progress your scientific career and 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.

Fte: 1.0

Job description

We are looking for a candidate for a 4-year post-doc project that will be carried out at the Department of Molecular and Cellular Neurobiology (MCN) of the Center of Neurogenomics and Cognitive Research (CNCR). 
Stressful events lie at the root of fear, anxiety and mood disorders. Using a model of social stress exposure during adulthood, we have observed late effects at the behavioral, molecular and cellular level in the hippocampus CA1 region, where extracellular matrix (ECM) surrounding fast-spiking Parvalbumin+ (PV) inhibitory neurons play a central role. Yet, to what extent, and via which molecular and cellular mechanism this lasting depressive-like effect is carried is not clear. 
Here, we will investigate in a rat model of depression, using cell type-specific interventions, whether ECM disturbances and/or intrinsic changes in inhibitory neuron activity are the driving force for the molecular and behavioral changes observed. Hence, read-outs will focus at intrinsic (PV and pyramidal neurons) and network activity of the hippocampus, as well as behavioral and molecular effects. As such, we are looking for a candidate with a PhD-degree in (slice/in vivo) electrophysiology, who has interest and (favorably) skills in behavioral and molecular/cellular neuroscience. 

Your duties

  • Performing electrophysiological recordings 
  • Performing rodent surgery to manipulate cell activity or protein expression 
  • Performing rodent behavioral analysis 
  • Performing molecular analyses in the rodent brain
  • Supervising BSc and /or MSc students during internships
  • Co-supervising PhD students
  • Writing and authoring manuscripts that will be submitted to high quality journals
  • Presenting your work to the research community (at conference calls, or (inter)national conferences)
  • Acquisition of grant money to build a career track in The Netherlands
  • A contribution to teaching activities is expected


  •  PhD degree in neuroscience with extensive experience in electrophysiology
  • Research experience in rodent behavioral analysis, as well as molecular and cellular biology
  • Fluent in English (spoken and written)
  • Pro-active, motivated and curiosity-driven attitude to pursue a career in Neuroscience
  • 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. On full-time basis the remuneration amounts to a minimum gross monthly salary of €2,709 (scale 10)
and a maximum €4,274 (scale 10), depending on your education and experience.
The job profile (Researcher 4): 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 Mechanisms of stress-adaption of hippocampal interneurons. 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.


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 Sabine Spijker
Position: Team leader

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