Benchmarking the hypothalamic pre-autonomic neurons by combining retrograde tracing and single cell RNA sequencing

Benchmarking the hypothalamic pre-autonomic neurons by combining retrograde tracing and single cell RNA sequencing

Published Deadline Location
15 Jul 31 Jul Amsterdam

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Job description

What you are going to do
The PhD student will perform retrograde tracing studies in rats and/or mice and cell sorting experiments with the tracer labeled tissue. The isolated tracer labeled cells will be processed for single cell RNA sequencing (scRNAsec), with the goal to find specific markers for the sympathetic and para-sympathetic pre-autonomic neurons. The scRNAsec will be done by the other PhD student on this project in the group of Prof. Onno Meijer and Dr. Ahmed Mahfouz at the Leiden University Medical Center. In follow-up experiments these markers will be used to investigate to what extent the pre-autonomic neurons are affected by the hormones involved in the negative feedback of the neuro-endocrine HPA-, HPT- and HPG-axes and to investigate how physiological stimuli, such as psychological stress, food deprivation, sleep disturbance or cold exposure, affect these pre-autonomic neurons.


Academic Medical Center (AMC)


What we expect from you
We are looking for a PhD student who is highly passionate about science. The ideal candidate should have:

  1. obtained a master degree in biomedical science or neuroscience;
  2. experience with working with animal models (mice or rat), preferably including experience with stereotactic surgery and/or neural tracing and ideally have obtained Qualification 9 (Art 9);
  3. knowledge of (hypothalamic) neuro-anatomy;
  4. experience in working with bright-field and fluorescent microscopy;
  5. as an option, knowledge and/or experience in fluorescence-activated cell sorting. In addition, our research group is very international, therefore being fluent in English will be highly appreciated.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 48 months.

What we offer you
We offer you ample opportunity for development, deepening and broadening, additional training and a place to grow! Working at AMR means working in an inspiring and professional environment where development is encouraged in every respect.

  • The maximum gross monthly salary based on a 36-hour work week is € 2,495,- during the first year and increases to € 3,196 in the fourth year (scale 21 CAO UMC).
  • The base salary does not include holiday pay (8%) and a year-end bonus (8.3%).
  • We offer a contract for 48 months.
  • In addition to excellent accessibility by public transport, AMC also has a sufficient number of parking spaces for employees.
  • Pension is accrued at Be Frank.

For an overview of all our other terms of employment, see
Amsterdam UMC has an open culture. Together we continuously build an environment where everyone feels welcome. To achieve that, we strive to provide equal opportunities for everyone. We therefore cordially invite all interested parties to respond to this vacancy.


Amsterdam UMC

The Amsterdam UMC is one of the foremost research institutions in the Netherlands, providing integrated patient care, fundamental and clinical scientific research, and teaching. In the Department of Endocrinology and Metabolism, one of the key research topics is the control of the central nervous system over energy homeostasis. Together the autonomic nervous and endocrine system constitute the brain output that is responsible for maintaining homeostasis. The hypothalamus is the core brain structure controlling the activity of the endocrine axes and autonomic nervous system (ANS). Current knowledge implicates impaired hypothalamic control of body weight and systemic glucose as key pathogenic processes leading to type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Unfortunately, no markers are available to recognize the hypothalamic neurons that control the activity of the sympathetic and parasympathetic branches of the ANS. Consequently, virtually nothing is known about these neurons, except for the mere fact that they exist. In the current PhD project, we aim to combine retrograde tracing and scRNAseq to label and characterise the pre-autonomic neurons. In follow-up experiments these markers will be used to get a better understanding of the factors that determine the activity of the pre-autonomic neurons.
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  • Research, development, innovation; PhD
  • Behaviour and society; Health; Natural sciences; Engineering
  • max. 36 hours per week
  • €2495—€3196 per month
  • University graduate
  • AT 2747311


Academic Medical Center (AMC)

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Meibergdreef 9, 1105 AZ, Amsterdam

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