PhD Candidate in Parkinson's Disease (PD)

PhD Candidate in Parkinson's Disease (PD)

Published Deadline Location
23 Feb 22 Mar Amsterdam

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Job description

Do you enjoy working in an interdisciplinary research setting and do you want to be active in a variety of educational programmes? The Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences is looking for a highly qualified and ambitious PhD candidate for the project 'Validating and Expanding the role of Mcl1 in dopamine neuron survival' in the Molecular Neuroscience Group.

Neurons in the substantia nigra (SN) pars compacta are selectively lost during the progression of Parkinson's disease (PD). Recent work performed on the role of the Bcl2 family (highly specialized proteins which control cellular survival and death) in midbrain dopamine neurons has led to the identification of the Bcl2 factor Mcl1 as a weak link in the survival of these neurons. We hypothesize that the regulation of BCL2 proteins may explain this selective vulnerability, and may even provide a novel therapeutic opportunity - strengthening weak links such as MCL1 could result in a delay or complete abrogation of cell death during PD.

The mission of the Molecular Neuroscience group is understanding fundamental molecular processes that underlie neurodevelopment and neuronal function in health and disease. Research is concentrated on two brain areas: the cortex and the midbrain. More recently we have focused on the cell survival machinery of dopamine neurons in relation to PD.

What are you going to do?

In this project you will expand on our previous findings by validating the roles of Mcl1 and others in-vivo and ex-vivo, map the regulatory network around Mcl1, and finally attempt to bridge the gap between Mcl1 regulation and PD. By meticulously addressing how and when Mcl1 and its regulators contribute to cell death and survival we may be able to identify the most crucial components required to keep dopamine neurons alive.

Tasks and responsibilities
  • complete and defend a PhD thesis within the official appointment duration of four years;
  • contribute to the design of experiments, perform experiments, analyze and interpret results of the experiments;
  • take a leading role in writing manuscripts;
  • present your results at (inter)national scientific meetings;
  • participate in the Faculty of Science PhD training programme;
  • assist in teaching undergraduates and Master's students;
  • co-supervise junior scientists (technicians, MSc/BSc students).


University of Amsterdam (UvA)


You are passionate about science and you have a particular interest in signal transduction and neurodegenerative diseases. You feel comfortable performing experimental lab work, you are problem-solving and have a creative mind. Finally, you are a team player and a nice colleague who enjoys being part of an interdisciplinary team of scientists.

Your experience and profile
  • MSc in molecular biology, neurobiology or a related field;
  • good knowledge of neuronal anatomy and signal transduction;
  • good project and time management skills enabling you to meet the projects' deadlines for finishing analyses,
reports and other deliverables;
  • good analytical, writing and presenting skills;
  • fluency in English, both written and spoken and the willingness to learn Dutch (in case not Dutch native speaker).
Candidates with Laboratory animal course certification (rat/mouse) are preferred as is extensive experience with various common techniques: Immunohistochemistry, PFA/sucrose sectioning, genotyping, microscopy, FACS, Cell Culture and Western Blotting.

Conditions of employment

A temporary contract for 38 hours per week for the duration of 4 years (the initial contract will be for a period of 18 months and after satisfactory evaluation it will be extended for a total duration of 4 years). The preferred starting date is 1 May of earlier if possible. This should lead to a dissertation (PhD thesis). We will draft an educational plan that includes attendance of courses and (international) meetings. We also expect you to assist in teaching undergraduates and master students.

Your salary will range between €2,541 in the first year to €3,247 gross per month in the last year of employment, on the basis of a full working week of 38 hours (scale P). This sum does not include the 8% holiday allowance and the 8.3% year-end allowance. A favorable tax agreement, the 30% ruling, may apply to non-Dutch applicants. The Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (CAO NU) is applicable.

Besides the salary and a vibrant and challenging environment at Science Park we offer you multiple fringe benefits:
  • 232 holiday hours per year (based on fulltime);
  • multiple courses to follow from our Teaching and Learning Centre;
  • a complete educational program for PhD students;
  • a pension at ABP for which UvA pays two third part of the contribution;
  • the possibility to follow courses to learn Dutch;
  • help with housing for a studio or small apartment when you're moving from abroad.
Are you curious to read more about our extensive package of secondary employment benefits, take a look here.


Faculty of Science

TheUniversity of Amsterdam is the Netherlands' largest university, offering the widest range of academic programmes. At the UvA, 30,000 students, 6,000 staff members and 3,000 PhD candidates study and work in a diverse range of fields, connected by a culture of curiosity.

TheFaculty of Science has a student body of around 8,000, as well as 1,800 members of staff working in education, research or support services. Researchers and students at the Faculty of Science are fascinated by every aspect of how the world works, be it elementary particles, the birth of the universe or the functioning of the brain.

The Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences (SILS) is one of the Faculty of Science's largest institutes. Its approximately 240 scientists and staff members work in 17 research groups that perform excellent research centred on four themes: Neurosciences, Cell & Systems Biology, Green Life Sciences and Microbiology.

Want to know more about our organisation? Read more about working at the University of Amsterdam.


  • PhD
  • Natural sciences
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • max. €2541 per month
  • University graduate
  • 11239


University of Amsterdam (UvA)

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Science Park 904, 1098XH, Amsterdam

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