Postdoctoral Researcher in Thalamo-cortical Interactions During Behavior

Faculteit/Dienst:  Faculteit der Natuurw., Wiskunde & Informatica
Opleidingsniveau:  Gepromoveerd
Functie type:  Wetenschappelijk Personeel
Sluitingsdatum:  18.08.2024
Vacaturenummer:  13126

Are you interested in how the neocortex and thalamus interact with each other in the mammalian brain? Do you like physiological and behavioral experiments in rodents and wish to make ground-breaking discoveries? Are you excited by new ideas, new techniques, and unconventional approaches? If your answers are all yes, this project might be for you.


The project entitled “Understanding parallel communication in the brain using novel micro-optical probes” has recently been awarded the prestigious NWO M1 Grant that supports 36-month postdoctoral research. The project aims to understand how the enigmatic higher-order thalamic nuclei influence the cortex via parallel pathways. To do so, we will take an unprecedented approach combining a novel micro-optical probe (that has been recently developed) with electrophysiology, optogenetics, and calcium imaging in the rodent brain in vivo. We are looking for a highly skilled and enthusiastic postdoctoral researcher to conduct the research.

The project supervisor Dr. Mototaka Suzuki is in the Cognitive and Systems Neuroscience Group (CNS) within the Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences in the Faculty of Science at the University of Amsterdam. CNS aims to elucidate how neuronal networks distributed across the sensory neocortex, frontal cortex, hippocampal memory system and subcortical regions cooperate in perception and memory processing. 


What are you going to do?

In this project, you will characterize 1) what information is conveyed through parallel projections from the thalamus to the cortex; 2) which cellular structures (e.g., interneurons, apical dendrites of pyramidal neurons) receive the information from the parallel pathways; and 3) the functional significance of each parallel pathway. Because parallel connectivity patterns are widely found in the brain, this feature presumably play a fundamental role in brain computations. This project will study such parallel pathways in the brain through combined use of state-of-the-art techniques and tiny optical tools I have recently developed. This new approach has potential to make a significant contribution to our understanding of the brain’s mysterious parallel communications. 


Tasks and responsibilities:
•    conducting independent research in the thalamo-cortical network in the rodent brain, resulting in academic publications in

     peer-reviewed international journals;
•    help teaching courses in the bachelor and master programmes (max 20 hours per year);
•    supervising Bachelor and Master thesis projects whose topics are relevant to your project;


Your profile

You have/are:
•    a PhD in neuroscience or a relevant field;
•    a good publication record, at least one first-author paper/preprint;
•    skilled in electrophysiological recordings, optogenetics, and/or calcium imaging in the rodent brain in vivo;
•    experience in rodent behavioral training;
•    willing to lecture or support courses for master/bachelor students (max 20 hours per year);
•    professional command of English (both writing and speaking).


Our offer

We offer a temporary employment contract for 38 hours per week for a period of 36 months, with a probation period of 2 months. The preferred starting date is November 1, 2024 or sooner if possible.


The gross monthly salary, based on 38 hours per week and dependent on relevant experience, ranges between € 3,226 to € 5,090 (scale 10). Additionally, you get 8% holiday allowance and 8,3% year-end allowance. A favourable tax agreement, the ‘30% ruling’, may apply to non-Dutch applicants. The Collective Labour Agreement of Universities of the Netherlands is applicable.


Besides the salary and a vibrant and challenging environment at Science Park we offer you multiple fringe benefits:
•    232 holiday hours per year (based on fulltime);
•    a pension at ABP for which UvA pays two third part of the contribution;
•    the possibility to follow courses to learn Dutch;
•    help with housing for a studio or small apartment when you’re moving from abroad. 


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 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.

Want to know more about our organisation? Read more about working at the University of Amsterdam.


Any questions?


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 18 August 2024. 


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

•    a detailed CV including the months (not just years) when referring to your education and work experience;
•    a letter of motivation;
•    a list of publications;
•    the names and email addresses of two references who can provide letters of recommendation.


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


The interviews will be held in the second half of August and September 2024.


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 prioritise 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.