Netherlands: PhD-student in neurophysiology

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Synaptic transmission in the brain is modified
by previous experience and external modulation by chemical signals.
Modification of presynaptic secretion is an important and often
underestimated way to modify transmission. Presynaptic mechanisms
modify both the amount of synaptic vesicles available for secretion and
their likeliness to be secreted (“release probability”). The aim of
this project is to identify and characterize the molecular factors that
account for these two mechanisms to regulate secretion in nerve

Description of work

Previously identified candidate genes that may contribute to the
plastic properties of nerve terminals have been inactivated in mice.
Synaptic transmission in these mutant mice will be analyzed in
micro-dot island cultures (autapses) and patch clamp. Differences will
be validated by acute expression of the inactivated gene using viral
transfection. These physiological analyses may be complemented with
optical recordings to directly assess presynaptic functions (FM-dyes,

All the electrophysiological and optical techniques, equipment,
analysis software, viral vectors and mutant mice are available from the
start of the project.


University Graduate
We are looking for
candidates with a master degree in (medical) Biology, Biophysics or
Physics with hands-on experience in electrophysiology (patch clamp), an
interest in neuroscience and a strong motivation to pursue a career in


VU University Amsterdam Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences
Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands, has
been a renowned cultural, scientific and commercial centre for many
centuries. It was here, in 1880, that the VU University Amsterdam first
opened its doors to students. VU stands for ‘Vrije Universiteit’, which
means ‘Free University’. Here, ‘free’ refers to freedom of state and
church interference. Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam was established in
1880 by orthodox protestants. Nowadays it aims to be inspiring,
innovative and involved.

Throughout the past century, the university has continued to
expand. It now comprises twelve faculties and has teaching facilities
for 18,000 students.

Click here for an overview of faculties and institutes:

The university campus and university hospital are situated in the
south-western part of Amsterdam, one of the most dynamic and
fast-growing business districts in the Netherlands. The international
airport of Schiphol-Amsterdam is 10 kilometres away, just 8 minutes by
train. With more than fifty undergraduate (or bachelor’s) programmes
and almost a hundred postgraduate (or master’s) programmes, the Vrije
Universiteit Amsterdam offers a wide choice of study options. The
programmes are of a high quality, the atmosphere is very conducive to
study, and the teaching staff is easily accessible.


The Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences is the
result of the merger between the former Faculty of Earth Sciences,
Faculty of Biology and the Institute of Environmental Studies. The
Faculty is offering education and doing research in the fields of:

Earth Sciences (physical geography and geology)


Biomedical Sciences


Public Health

Environmental Studies

Conditions of employment

Employment basis: Temporary for specified period
Duration of the contract: temporary

Additional conditions of employment:
The initial appointment will be fulltime and for a period of 12 months.
After satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment it will be
extended for a total duration of 4 years. You can find information
about our excellent fringe benefits of employment – including holiday
allowances of 8 % per year – at


Gross monthly salaries range from € 2.000,- in the first year to € 2.558,- in the last year of appointment.

Additional Information

Or additional information can be obtained through one of the following links.

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You can apply for this job before 30-09-2008 by sending your application to:

VU University Amsterdam
Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences
Els Borghols
De Boelelaan 1085
1081 HV Amsterdam
The Netherlands
E-mail address:

Applications and more info

Please send CV and cover letter to Els Borghols at e-mail: with

‘position PhD-34’ in the subject line.

More info can be obtained via website or from Matthijs
Verhage, at e-mail: Applications will be
acknowledged in the first week of September 2008.

Any other correspondence in response to this advertisement will not be dealt with.

When applying for this job always mention the vacancy number 1.2008.00253.

The short URL code for this job opening is: 00353-669.

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