PhD positions in cellular neuroscience at Center for Neurogenomics and Cognitive Research, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Project 1: The principles of vesicle docking in neurons and neurosecretory cells

Project 2: Presynaptic modulation of synaptic transmission

Project 3: The effect of genetic variation in schizophrenia on cellular trafficking and synaptic transmission

These projects are part of a large EU-funded project on cellular trafficking (ERC Advanced grant, ERC-ADG- 322966) and a international collaboration between the US, Sweden and Amsterdam on functional analysis of genetic variation in schizophrenia (SUN-project). The PhD-students will be fully integrated in these projects.

Background and Aim:

Communication between neurons in the brain depends on the secretion of chemical messengers from synaptic and dense core vesicles and the trafficking of these vesicles to and within the synapse. Several genes involved in these processes are now firmly implicated in brain disorders like epilepsy, mental retardation and schizophrenia. The aim of the projects is to unravel the mechanisms of vesicle trafficking and secretion in neurons and neurosecretory cells and to analyze how genetic variation associated with these disorders affect these processes.

Description of work:

All projects use cultured rodent and human neurons and modern genome editing to delete candidate genes or introduce/correct disease-relevant variation. As main analysis tools you will primarily use electronmicroscopy and life cell imaging, incl. TIRF (project 1), patch clamp electrophysiology and fluorescence imaging (project 2) and cellular trafficking assays (project 3). All projects will test their main findings in more integrated models (brain slices and in vivo). You will be part of international research networks and will be able to exploit a variety of other analysis methods available within the networks. You will be appointed in Amsterdam (project 1 and 2) or in Stockholm (project 3) and work primarily in Amsterdam with regular visits to the participating labs. The PhDstudents will be trained on site and in specialized courses on campus. Prof. Matthijs Verhage is the main supervisor for all projects. In addition, you will receive support from senior staff: Dr. Jan van Weering (project 1), Dr. Marieke Meijer (project 2) and Dr. Ruud Toonen (project 3).


We are looking for candidates that hold, or will soon hold, a master degree in (Medical) Biology, Biophysics or Physics, preferably with hands-on experience in (neuronal) cell culture, electronmicroscopy, cellular imaging and/or patch clamp physiology, and a strong motivation to pursue a career in science.

How to apply:

Please send CV and cover letter to Els Borghols at with ‘CNCR-PhD-56-2015’ and the project number(s) in the subject line.

Deadline: June 15, 2015.

Start date: no later than November 1, 2015. More info via or from Dr. Jan van Weering (project 1,, Dr. Marieke Meijer (project 2, or Dr. Ruud Toonen (project 3,

Details of projects can be find here.

For more information please visit institute website.