PhD Candidate in Mechanisms of Transfer of Maternal Effects

Faculty/Services:  Faculty of Science
Educational level:  Master
Function type:  PhD position
Closing date:  31.08.2022
Vacancy number:  8744


The Brain Plasticity Group tries to understand how the brain adapts to a changing, or challenging, environment. We study changes in brain plasticity at the molecular level, structural, functional and behavioral level and want to understand how they are modified by lifestyle factors, like (early life) stress, nutrition, inflammation, physical exercise, psychoactive drugs, and changed in brain and metabolic disorders.


For a new project we are looking for a highly qualified and motivated PhD candidate to conduct research activities within the context of the Korosi lab, resulting in a doctoral dissertation. If you enjoy performing work in vivo and in vitro with animal models, do analysis of ‘-omics’ data (e.g. lipidomic, proteomic, metabolomic, RNA sequencing) and work in a team in a divers setting, than this position is perfect for you.


What are you going to do

The project you will be working on is aimed at studying the mechanisms of long-term programming of mental and metabolic health by early-life stress and early-life nutrition. It will focus in particular on if and how early adversity affects various barriers between mother and offspring (nutrient/hormone/cytokine transfer via the placenta, mammary gland and the blood brain barriers) and how this translates to sex-specific differences in the offspring. You will use established mouse models (at the UvA) and innovative placental fish models (at WUR) of early-life adversity, allowing the identification of potentially conserved mechanisms between species. All the animal models, equipment, analysis software are available from the start of the project. You will be trained on site and in specialized courses.


Tasks and Responsibilities


  • complete and defend a PhD thesis within the official appointment duration of four years;
  • plan and perform scientific data analysis and experiments in an independent manner;
  • critically analyze and interpret results; 
  • take a leading role in writing manuscripts; 
  • present your research results at local, national and international scientific meetings;
  • interact with international and local researchers participating in the project;
  • participate in the Research School and Faculty of Science PhD training programmes; 
  • assist in teaching undergraduates and Master’s students;
  • co-supervise junior scientists (technicians, MSc/BSc students).

What do you have to offer

You are passionate about science and interested in early life origins of disease and sex differences. You like a challenge and are excited about combining work on diverse animal models. You enjoy working in a diverse setting, as you will be working in a collaborative project on two different locations. Finally, you are a team player and a nice colleague with good communication skills as you will regularly join and present at consortium meetings as well as at relevant (inter)national meetings.

Your experience and profile 


  • MSc in Biology, Neuroscience/ (neuro-)immunology or a related field;
  • preferably experience with big data and omics analyses and coding (e.g. python, R), performing animal experiments and basic knowledge on classical neuroscientific methods (e.g. dissections, immunohistochemistry, western blot, PCR, in vitro assays, cell type sorting);
  • 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;
  • flexible, readiness to participate in interdisciplinary cooperation and multidisciplinary development (verifiably focused on collaboration with other disciplines);
  • fluency in English, both written and spoken and the willingness to learn Dutch (in case not Dutch native speaker).

Our offer

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 October 2022. 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 €2,443 in the first year to €3,122 gross per month in the last year of employment, on the basis of a full working week of 38 hours. 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. Are you curious to read more about our extensive package of secondary employment benefits, take a look here.

About us

The University 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.


The Faculty 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 16 research groups that perform excellent research centered on four themes: Neurosciences, Cell & Systems Biology, Microbiology and Green Life Sciences.


Do you want to know more about our organisation? Read more about working at the University of Amsterdam.



Do you have any questions or do you require additional information? Please contact:


Job application

If you feel the profile fits you, and you are interested in the job, we look forward to receiving your application. You can apply online via the button below. We accept applications until and including 31 August 2022. 


Applications should include the following information (all files besides your cv should be submitted in one single pdf file):

  • a detailed CV including birth date and the numbers of months (not just years) when referring to your education and work experience;
  • a letter of motivation;
  • a list of publications (if any available);
  • your master thesis from your scientific stages and literature review
  • the names and email addresses of two references who can provide, upon request, letters of recommendation.


Only complete applications received within the response period via the link below will be considered.



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.