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Postdoc in experimental and computational neurodevelopment

Human Technopole
Milan (IT)
up to 40K depending on the candidate'seniority. Tax benefits where applicable.
Closing date
15 Aug 2024

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Life Science
Job Type
Employment - Hours
Full time
Fixed term

Job Details



Human Technopole (HT) is an interdisciplinary life science research institute, created and supported by the Italian Government, with the aim of developing innovative strategies to improve human health. HT is composed of five Centers: Neurogenomics, Computational Biology, Structural Biology, Genomics, and Health Data Science. The Centers work together to enable interdisciplinary research and to create an open, collaborative environment that will help promote life science research both nationally and internationally.

The Davila-Velderrain group at Human Technopole is looking for a Postdoc to work on a project aiming at understanding the dynamics of neuronal maturation combining human stem cell-based models and computational approaches.

About the labs:

The Davila-Velderrain Group combines computational biology and collaborative experiments to understand the nervous system from an integrative physiological and genomic (PhysiOmic) perspective. We are interested in understanding how cells of the nervous system evolve, develop, and collectively (mal)function across biological realms. We use computational modeling to integrate genomic and physiological data, together with in vitro and in vivo experimental systems to uncover mechanisms underlying cell (patho)physiology and their impact in organismal behavior.

The Postdoc will also collaborate with the Harschnitz Group, that develops cutting edge human stem cell-based models of the peripheral and central nervous system to study neurodevelopment and neurological disorders. We are particularly interested in the molecular and cellular mechanisms that underlie susceptibility to viral disease of the human nervous system and the molecular drivers of chronic inflammation. Our group takes a multidisciplinary approach, combining state-of-the-art human stem cell models with high-content chemical screens, whole-genome CRISPR screens, genomic profiling, and advanced high resolution imaging technology.

See previous work on the research topics of this call:

Blanchard JW, Akay LA, Davila-Velderrain J, von Maydell D, Mathys H, Davidson SM, Effenberger A, Chen CY, Maner-Smith K, Hajjar I, Ortlund EA. APOE4 impairs myelination via cholesterol dysregulation in oligodendrocytes. Nature. 2022 Nov 24;611(7937):769-79.

Harschnitz O & Studer L. Human stem cell models to study host-virus interactions in the central nervous system. Nature Reviews Immunology. 2021 Jul;21(7):441-453.

Conti E & Harschnitz O. Human stem cell models to study placode development, physiology and pathology. Development, 2022 Oct 15;149(20):dev200831. doi: 10.1242/dev.200831. Epub 2022 Aug 30.

Key tasks and responsibilities:

The successful candidate will perform independent research co-supervised by Jose Davila-Velderrain and Oliver Harschnitz aiming at understanding systemic mechanisms underlying the maturation of human iPSC-derived neurons in 2D and 3D organoid culture systems. We are looking for a highly motivated, independent, and creative neurobiologist who is eager to learn more about how human neurons develop and mature. The postdoctoral fellow will use a combination of state-of-the-art hPSC technology with CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing, genomic data generation, and high-resolution imaging. Involvement in the computational data analysis and integration of the data produced would be also encouraged and supported. He/she will be part of a multidisciplinary and international environment, with the opportunity to learn new methods and be highly supported in developing a scientific career. Publication of scientific articles, development of technology, and presentation in conferences is expected and supported.

Applicants with a strong experimental background and interest in neurobiology are encouraged to apply. One or more of the following skills would be desirable

  • practical and conceptual knowledge of electrophysiology
  • practical and conceptual knowledge of energy metabolism
  • practical and conceptual knowledge of developmental biology
  • experience or an interest in computational data analysis

Job requirements

Essential requirements:

On the closing date for online applications, the candidate must fulfill all the following conditions:

  • PhD or equivalent qualification in a relevant subject (e.g., neuroscience, neurophysiology, cell biology, neurogenomics).
  • Fluency in English – HT is an international research institute.

Preferential requirements:

  • ● Hands-on experience in human stem cell biology and neuronal differentiation methods.
  • Training in neurodevelopmental biology
  • Training in neurophysiology or cell physiology
  • Experience in experimental techniques for morphological, electrophysiological, and/or metabolic profiling
  • Experience in molecular profiling techniques: e.g., RNA-seq, scRNA-seq, scATAC-seq, Chip/RNA/ATAC-seq
  • Experience in R for data analysis and scientific computing

Other key competencies:

  • Passion for science
  • Independence
  • Creative thinking
  • Adaptability
  • Excellent communication skills
  •  Problem-solving and organizational skills
  • Ability and disposition to work in an open, transparent, and highly collaborative team

Application Instructions

To apply, please send the following:

  • a CV in English.
  • a motivation letter in English relating your track record to the specifics of the call.
  • names and contacts of 2 referees.

Why Human Technopole:

HT seeks scientific excellence, we recruit the best scientific talents through international, open calls.

Our working environment is international, friendly and inclusive. Our scientists work together across disciplines on research topics of biomedical relevance, leveraging synergies between their diverse skill sets and methodological approaches.

We believe that highly diverse teams yield the best and most innovative results.

We engage in outward-facing scientific activities aimed at benefiting the national and international research community. Training is also at the heart of our activity, with initiatives and opportunities for our staff, including scientific courses, conferences and workshops.

Main benefits

  • Welfare plans.
  • Canteen service.
  • Work-life balance provisions.
  • Italian language training for foreigners.
  • Parental leave up to 1 year and other support for new parents.
  • Counseling.
  • Flexible working hours.
  • Remote working policy.
  • Support for relocation.

Special consideration will be given to candidates who are part of the protected categories list, according to L. 68/99.


Number of positions offered: 1

Contract offered: CCNL Chimico Farmaceutico, Fixed-term 4 years - Employee Level

Salary range: Up to 40K gross, depending on the candidate's seniority.
Tax benefits where applicable.

The position is based in Milan.


“The Foundation reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to extend, suspend, modify, revoke, or cancel this job posting without giving rise to any rights or claims whatsoever in favor of the candidates; the Foundation reserves, however, the right not to proceed with the awarding of the above-described assignment due to the effect of supervening regulatory provisions and/or obstructive circumstances”.


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