Postdoc ‘Functional connectivity of the memory engram’

Postdoc ‘Functional connectivity of the memory engram’

Published Deadline Location
21 Sep 12 Nov Nijmegen

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Job description

Intrusive memories in the form of flashbacks, nightmares and intrusive recollections, are amongst the most devastating symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Whereas these memories are extremely vivid and highly emotional, they lack temporal context, being reexperienced as if they were happening in the present. The declarative content also seems to be fragmented and is characterised by impaired factual recall (e.g., on the surrounding context). These observations suggest an aberrant storage of the trauma memory in PTSD.

In this project, part of the VIDI grant awarded to Henckens, we aim to investigate the differences between adaptive vs. maladaptive (aberrant) trauma memory by investigating the memory engram in a mouse model for PTSD. Specifically, we aim to 1) investigate the functional connectivity across the memory engram for a traumatic vs. neutral event, and 2) relate trauma memory engram functional connectivity to the long-term behavioural consequences of trauma exposure by dissociating trauma susceptible vs. resilient mice. To this end, optogenetic stimulation of tagged engram neurons in transgenic TRAP mice will be combined with in vivo neuroimaging.

Specifically, you will learn to design, perform, and analyse behavioural experiments in mice, as well as stereotactic surgery, optogenetic stimulation and functional MRI data acquisition and analyses. You will collaborate with scientists with varying disciplines, participate in international conferences, and prepare manuscripts for publication at the end of the project.


Radboud University Medical Center (Radboudumc)


The ideal candidate will have a PhD degree and excellent track record in (medical/molecular) biology, molecular life sciences, biomedical sciences, medicine, neuroscience, or in a related field. Your attitude is proactive and goal-directed. You posses good organizational skills.

You also have:
  • FELASA Certificate to conduct animal experiments, and experience in rodent research; behavioural testing, stereotactic surgery, optogenetics (preferred).
  • Experience in rodent fMRI; data acquisition and analyses (preferred).
  • Experience with coding (R, Matlab or Python) (preferred).
  • Interpersonal and communication skills to effectively collaborate and communicate in an interdisciplinary, international research setting.
  • Fluency in written and spoken English.
Candidates who only partially meet this profile are nonetheless strongly encouraged to apply.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 3 years.

Working at Radboud university medical center means that you are ahead of the curve and working together on the healthcare of the future. And there is more. Our secondary terms of employment are impressive. These are fully tailored to you thanks to our Employment Conditions Selection Model. At Radboud university medical center, you will be given trust, and you will take the responsibility to handle everything together. We provide annual courses, both professional and personal.
  • In addition to your monthly salary and an annual vacation allowance of 8%, you will receive an end-of-year bonus of 8.3%.
  • If you work irregular hours, you will receive an allowance.
  • As a full-time employee (36 hours per week), you are entitled to approximately 168 vacation hours (over 23 days) per year.
  • Radboud university medical center pays 70% of the pension premium. You pay the rest of the premium with your gross salary.
  • You get a discount on health insurance as well: you can take advantage of two group health insurance plans. UMC Zorgverzekering and CZ collectief.
In addition to our terms of employment, we also offer employees various other attractive facilities, such as childcare and sports facilities. Want to learn more? Take a look at the CAO UMC.



The project is part of the research conducted by the group of Dr. Marloes Henckens, assistant professor at the department of Cognitive Neuroscience (CNS) of the Radboudumc, focusing on the neural correlates of differential susceptibility to stress-related disorders, with a specific interest in PTSD. The project will be co-supervised by Dr. Joanes Grandjean, assistant professor at the departments of CNS and Radiology of the Radboudumc, expert in rodent neuroimaging.

The project is embedded in the unique and excellent infrastructure of the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, a world-class research centre devoted to understanding the mechanistic underpinnings of cognition and behaviour in health and disease. It is a highly dynamic institute with a collaborative atmosphere and particular interest into translational research. For further information, please, visit the following websites: Radboud University Nijmegen; Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour; Department of Cognitive Neuroscience.

Research into stress and stress-related disorders is an important focus area at Radboud university medical center. Researchers working on this theme jointly organize regular discussion meetings and lectures to promote integration of research conducted within molecular, cellular, systems, behavioural, and clinical neurosciences across campus.

Radboud university medical center is a university medical center for patient care, scientific research, and education in Nijmegen. Radboud university medical center strives to be at the forefront of shaping the healthcare of the future. We do this in a person-centered and innovative way, and in close collaboration with our network. We want to have a significant impact on healthcare. We want to improve with each passing day, continuously working towards better healthcare, research, and education. And gaining a better understanding of how diseases arise and how we can prevent, treat, and cure them, day in and day out. This way, every patient always receives the best healthcare, now and in the future. Because that is why we do what we do.

Read more about our strategy and what working at Radboud university medical center means. Our colleagues would be happy to tell you about it. #weareradboudumc


  • Postdoc
  • Health
  • max. 36 hours per week
  • €2911—€4615 per month
  • Doctorate
  • 145343-P788612-1


Radboud University Medical Center (Radboudumc)

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Geert Grooteplein-Zuid 10, 6525 GA, Nijmegen

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