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28 Nov 9 Jan Nijmegen

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A 3-year postdoctoral position on Modeling Gene Disruptions in Human Neurons is available at the Language & Genetics Department of the Max Planck Institute, Nijmegen, the Netherlands. The position is in the research group of Simon Fisher, co-discoverer of FOXP2, the first gene to be implicated in a speech and language disorder.

Job description

We have identified multiple rare gene disruptions that cause speech and language disorders in human neurodevelopmental syndromes. You will lead specific projects within a broader ongoing research programme that investigates the neurobiological consequences of such gene disruptions (in FOXP1/2/4, CHD3SETBP1 among other genes) in human cell models grown in the lab.

This programme adopts the latest human cell-culture techniques (stem-cell derived 2D and 3D neuronal models), CRISPR/Cas-based gene editing, single-cell and spatial transcriptomics, and other state-of-the-art methods of the field.

You will carry out your work in our custom-built molecular biology laboratories at the Max Planck Institute, which has its own cell-culture facilities, an advanced microfluidics system for high-throughput single-cell analyses, and dedicated histology and microscopy suites, including a confocal microscope with live cell-imaging capabilities, as well as a slide scanner for high-throughput imaging. These resources are complemented by bioinformatic expertise within the department, excellent in-house infrastructure for data analysis supported by a central technical group, and close collaborative links with the Human Genetics department of Radboudumc, on the same campus, as well as clinical colleagues around the world. You will be involved in supervising junior scientists, including students and research assistants, and writing up findings for publication, and will have opportunities to present your work at (inter)national workshops and conferences.


Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics


  • You are a research scientist who holds, or shortly expects to obtain, a PhD in a field that has given you extensive wet-laboratory experience, including hands-on work with human stem cell-culture models.
  • Previous experience with generating and characterizing stem-cell derived 2D neuronal cultures or brain spheroids/organoids is necessary.
  • Expertise in a range of molecular and cell biological methods is also essential.
  • Familiarity or experience with gene-editing (e.g. via CRISPR/Cas), single-cell transcriptomics/epigenetics (and related bioinformatic analyses), and/or assays of neuronal properties (e.g. differentiation and maturation, morphology, activity) will be an advantage.
  • You have a critical and careful approach to laboratory work and record keeping, and you strive for robustness and reproducibility of results.
  • You are organized and adept in communicating project plans and outcomes to others, in both spoken and written form.
  • You are interested in working together with researchers from a wide range of backgrounds.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 3 years.

  • This position is available from February 2024, but start date is negotiable. The term of appointment is full-time (39 hours per week) for 3 years.
  • The salary is determined according to the German TVöD (Tarifvertrag für den öffentlichen Dienst) and is classified in salary group E13, between EUR 4,628.76 and EUR 6,635.44 gross per month based on full-time employment. This is excluding a yearly 8% holiday bonus and based on the salary table from 1 March 2024 onwards, depending on the experience of the applicant, based on full-time employment.
  • Research staff have access to cutting-edge research and training facilities and technical infrastructure, and to funding for conferences/travel.


The Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics is a world-leading research institute devoted to interdisciplinary studies of the science of language and communication, including departments on genetics, psychology, development, neurobiology and multimodality of these fundamental human abilities.

We investigate how children and adults acquire their language(s), how speaking and listening happen in real time, how the brain processes language, how the human genome contributes to building a language-ready brain, how multiple modalities (as in speech, gesture and sign) shape language and its use in diverse languages and how language is related to cognition and culture, and shaped by evolution.

We are part of the Max Planck Society, an independent non-governmental association of German-funded research institutes dedicated to fundamental research in the natural sciences, life sciences, social sciences, and the humanities.

The Max Planck Society is an equal opportunities employer. We recognise the positive value of diversity and inclusion, promote equity and challenge discrimination. We aim to provide a working environment with room for differences, where everyone feels a sense of belonging. Therefore, we welcome applications from all suitably qualified candidates.

Our institute is situated on the campus of the Radboud University and has close collaborative links with the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour and the Centre for Language Studies at Radboud University. We also work closely with other child development researchers as part of the Baby & Child Research Center.

Staff and students at the MPI have access to state-of-the-art research and training facilities.


The Language & Genetics department

Scientists in the department adopt the latest innovations in molecular methods to discover how your genome helps you speak, identifying genes that are important for development of speech, language, reading and social communication, and using those genes as windows into the key neural pathways, as well as investigating evolutionary foundations. This involves interdisciplinary research at multiple levels, from determining molecular interactions and functional roles in neuronal cell models to assessing effects on brain structure and activity.

Overviews of the research of the Language & Genetics department can be found on our website here. Information about our programme of research on rare gene variants in cellular models is available via this link.


  • Research, development, innovation; Postdoc
  • Natural sciences; Health
  • max. 39 hours per week
  • €4628—€6635 per month
  • Doctorate
  • PA MPI 20231128


Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics

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Wundtlaan 1, 6525 XD, Nijmegen

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