Netherlands: Postdoc Molecular Neurobiology and Animal Neuroscience Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre (RUN MC)

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Job description

We (The Department of Cognitive Neuroscience) are looking for a motivated and enthusiastic postdoc in the field of molecular neurobiology and animal neuroscience.
The successful candidate will investigate the epigenetic mechanisms underlying the ‘for-better-and-for-worse’ outcomes of serotonin transporter gene x environmentinteractions (supervision by Dr. Judith Homberg). This will be done in collaboration with the Department Human Genetics (supervision by prof.dr. Hans van Bokhoven and Dr. Huiqing Zhou). You will also be involved in behavioural and functional neuroanatomical PhD projects related to the gene x environment project. Besides these practical issues you collaborate with scientists of a wide variety of disciplines, participates in international conferences, and prepares manuscripts for publication.

Project description
Both genetic and environmental factors are risk factors in the development of depression. Specifically, it is well established in humans that a genetic variation in the serotonin transporter increases risk for depression in interaction with early life stress. However, to be maintained across evolution, serotonin transporter gene x early life stress interactions should also bring beneficial effects.
This project focuses on the ‘for-better-and-for-worse’ outcomes of serotonin transporter x early life stress interactions and aims to elucidate the underlying molecular mechanisms, using the serotonin transporter knockout rat as model organism. Specifically, there is emerging evidence that gene x environment interactions are associated with epigenetic modifications, which are modifications of chromatin that regulate the gene expression. These epigenetic modifications can be highly persistent and may mediate life-long effects.

The postdoc will use innovative genomic approaches, including expression profiling (RNA-seq) and chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) followed by massively parallel sequencing, and bio-informatic data analysis in order to analyze the genes that are epigentically regulated by serotonin transporter gene x early life stress interactions.
During later phases of the project, the functional implications of a selected number of epigenetically modified genes will be studied at the level of neuroplasticity and behaviour, using local brain manipulations, including inhibitors of chromatin modifier proteins and targeted gene overexpression/knock-down.

Requirements

  • PhD degree in the area of molecular life sciences
  • You have demonstrated experience in molecular biology, molecular genetics or genomics methodologies and affinity with the neurosciences
  • You preferably have experience with rat/mouse research
  • Having the certificate “Artikel 9 Wet op de Dierproeven” is an advantage
  • You also have excellent interpersonal, social and communicative skills

Conditions of employment

  • Temporary, initially for 2 years
  • Scale 10: max € 55700 gross per year at full employment (incl. vacation bonus and end of year payments)

Organisation

Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre (RUN MC)

Department

Department of Cognitive Neuroscience

The proposed research will be carried out at our Department of Cognitive Neuroscience, section Molecular Neurogenetics (head prof.dr. Hans van Bokhoven), group Behavioural Neurogenetics (leader Dr. Judith Homberg) of the Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Center. Within this section we combining neurogenetics, behavioural and neurobiological characterization of model organisms and molecular and cellular biology. The new position is integrated in the Nijmegen Center for Molecular Life Sciences (NCMLS) and the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour. The proposed research is funded by the Donders Institute, according to a VIDI grant awarded to Dr. J. Homberg.

Additional information

For more information you can contact dr. Judith Homberg, associate professor of the Department of  Cognitive Neuroscience, (+3124) 1 09 06 or mail Judith.Homberg@radboudumc.nl

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