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Phd Candidate: Molecular Architecture Of Memory Ensembles


2 maanden geleden


De Boelelaan, Amsterdam, Noord-Holland
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
40 - 40 uur
€ 2395 - € 3061 per maand


The Molecular Engrams research team is looking for an enthusiastic PhD candidate for a 4-year project that will be carried out at the Department of Molecular and Cellular Neurobiology (MCN) of the Center of Neurogenomics and Cognitive Research (CNCR).

Understanding the fundamental neurobiological principles of memory formation and its persistence is a crucial challenge for neuroscience and of pivotal importance for insight into the pathophysiology of memory disorders. Memories are transformed into stable, highly-specific, long-term neural representations or engrams, by the temporal process of consolidation. This requires plasticity at synaptic and non-synaptic sites of sparsely distributed ‘engram neurons’ activated by learning. While considerable work has been done to causally map the circuitry of memory, the molecular architecture of neural plasticity signatures driving memory consolidation and its retention over time remain largely unknown. Identifying how these building blocks are regulated to enable information storage in neural circuits remains one of the most challenging questions of neuroscience that this project aims to answer.

We will make use of a multi-faceted technical toolbox that combines rodent behavior with in vivo tagging and metabolic labeling of memory-encoding neurons and their input-specific synaptic connections, proteomic analysis, and cell-specific manipulations to systematically identify the molecular landscape of memory over time. In doing so, we will focus on identifying protein adaptations in both the somatic- and input-specific synaptic proteome that drive neural plasticity signatures of memory formation and its persistence.

We are looking for someone with interest and skills in behavioral and molecular/cellular neuroscience. Experience with the techniques mentioned is an advantage.

Your tasks

  • Perform stereotaxic rodent brain surgery
  • Perform rodent behavioral analysis (associative memory processes)
  • Perform molecular and cellular analysis of the rodent brain
  • Supervise BSc and /or MSc students during internships
  • Write and author manuscripts that will be submitted to high quality journals
  • Present your work to the research community (at conference calls, or (inter)national conferences)
  • Contribute to teaching activities
  • Participate in ONWAR graduate school courses and retreats
  • Finish project with awarded thesis


  • 2-year MSc degree in (molecular) neuroscience (or equivalent)
  • Research experience in molecular and cellular biology, biochemistry or proteomics
  • Experience with rodent behavioral analysis and rodent surgery is preferred
  • Fluent in English (spoken and written)
  • Pro-active, motivated and curiosity-driven attitude to pursue a career in Neuroscience
  • Capability to critically reflect upon experiments, willingness to step out of your comfort zone to initiate new collaborations using novel techniques
  • Good communication and presentation skills to guarantee efficient information exchange


A challenging position in a socially involved organization. The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel and amounts €2,395 (PhD) per month during the first year and increases to €3,061 (PhD) per month during the fourth year, based on a full-time employment. The job profile: is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for 1.0 FTE.

The appointment will initially be for 1 year. After a satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment, the contract will be extended for another 3 years.

Additionally, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:
  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus
  • contribution to commuting expenses
  • optional model for designing a personalized benefits package

Additional information

Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button and upload your curriculum vitae and cover letter until July 15, 2021.

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

Vacancy questions
If you have any questions regarding this vacancy, you may contact:

Name: Priyanka Rao
Position: Assistant Professor
E-mail: p.rao@vu.nl

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