Two PhD positions in Cellular imaging and Neuroscience

Two PhD positions in Cellular imaging and Neuroscience

Published Deadline Location
3 Jul 18 Aug Amsterdam

Job description

We have two positions available for a PhD Student in Cellular imaging and in Neuroscience. The two positions are funded by a grant from NWO “Visualizing and manipulating synaptic AMPA-receptor plasticity with a new molecular toolkit”. The two PhD students are expected to closely collaborate within this project.

The two positions are embedded respectively in the following two UvA/SILS research groups:

Molecular Cytology studies the dynamic architecture of living cells. By employing genetic encoded fluorescent biosensors we analyze the molecular interactions between signaling molecules and flow of information across and in the plane of the membrane of living mammalian cells. We aim to understand how cells respond to internal and external cues using advanced microscopy tools.

Project 1: Engineering of novel tools for visualization and manipulation of signaling molecules that drive synaptic plasticity.

This project builds on our efforts to engineer biosensors ad optogenetic tools that can be used in relevant complex biological systems to interrogate signaling networks. In this project protein engineering and microscopy-based screening will be applied to generate new biosensors that have lifetime contrast, as these have advantageous properties for quantitative imaging in complex systems. In addition, we aim to generate genetically encoded components that can manipulate cAMP levels or other signaling components that potentially control synaptic AMPA-receptor plasticity.

Cellular and Computational Neuroscience is part of the SILS Neuroscience theme and investigates the regulation of neuronal excitability and synaptic plasticity mechanism that underlie learning and memory, at the level of cellular and network neuroscience using electrophysiological, live-imaging, pharmacological and molecular techniques.

Project 2: Understanding the synaptic plasticity mechanisms that underlie memory retrieval

In this project the synaptic plasticity processes will be examined that underlie memory retrieval in the hippocampus. We hypothesize that noradrenaline signalling selectively increases the intracellular levels of cyclic AMP at actively communicating synapses, thereby increasing conductance of AMPA-receptors at these synapses. To study these molecular processes, whole-cell electrophysiology will be combined with live-imaging and optogenetics. This project is directly relevant to increase our understanding of how memories can be reactivated and why memory retrieval is impaired in early Alzheimer’s disease.

What are you going to do?
As a PhD student, you are expected to:
  • complete a PhD thesis within the official appointment duration of four years;
  • gain knowledge of the field through literature survey, discussion with team members and internal lab meetings;
  • contribute to the design of experiments and perform experiments;
  • analyze and interpret results of experiments;
  • enroll in the training program for PhD students in the graduate school ONWAR

(Graduate School Neurosciences Amsterdam and Rotterdam);
  • teach seminars and/or practical for bachelor and master students;
  • supervise bachelor and master student projects;
  • present data at local, national and international scientific meetings.

What do we require?
You are a highly motivated, ambitious student with a Master degree in Molecular Life Sciences (project 1), Neuroscience (project 2), or equivalent. Analytical and theoretical skills as well as experimental talent are essential. A background in cellular imaging / molecular biology (project 1) or cellular neuroscience (project 2) is an advantage.

You are an enthusiastic person with appreciable communication skills, who communicates very constructively in a team-based environment, and with excellent writing skills in English. You are passionate about science and interested in signaling pathways that drive synaptic plasticity.

You like a challenge and are motivated to work in an interdisciplinary environment. You are a team player and a nice colleague with good problem-solving skills. You have a high intrinsic motivation and aptitude for fundamental research (reflected by your CV).

Our offer
We offer a temporary contract for 38 hours per week, preferably starting on 1 November 2024 for the duration of 4 years (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). 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.

Based on a full-time appointment (38 hours per week) the gross monthly salary will range from € 2.770 in the first year to €3.539 (scale P) in the last year. This is exclusive 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus. A favourable tax agreement, the ‘30% ruling’, may apply to non-Dutch applicants. The Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities is applicable.

Are you curious about our extensive package of secondary employment benefits like our excellent opportunities for study and development? Take a look here.

Do you have questions about this vacancy? Or do you want to know more about our organisation?

Please contact:

About the Faculty of Science and the Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences
The Faculty of Science of the University of Amsyterdam has a student body of around 7,000, as well as 1,600 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 located at the vibrant Amsterdam Science Park. SILS is one of eight institutes of the University of Amsterdam's Faculty of Science (FNWI). With around 240 employees, SILS carries out internationally high-quality life science research and provides education within various university programs. Research is also carried out in close cooperation with the medical, biotech, chemical, flavor, food & agricultural, and high-tech industries, and revolves around 4 main themes, Cell & Systems biology, Neurosciences, Microbiology and Green Life Sciences.

Do you recognize yourself in the job profile? Then we look forward to receiving your application by 18 August 2024. You can apply online by using the link below. Please make clear in your application which project you are interested in.

Applications in .pdf should include:
  • a motivation letter and CV
  • contact details of two academic referees.

Please mention the months (not just years) in your CV when referring to your education and work experience.

A knowledge security check can be part of the selection procedure.
(for details: national knowledge security guidelines)

The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritize diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. We value a spirit of enquiry and perseverance, provide the space to keep asking questions, and promote a culture of curiosity and creativity.

If you encounter Error GBB451, reach out to our HR Department directly. They will gladly help you continue your application.

No agencies please.


University of Amsterdam (UvA)


  • PhD
  • Natural sciences
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • 13165


University of Amsterdam (UvA)

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Science Park 904, 1098XH, Amsterdam

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Application procedure

Application procedure

Make sure to apply no later than 18 Aug 2024 23:59 (Europe/Amsterdam).