German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases within the Helmholtz Association (DZNE)

PhD studentship (f/m/d) – Electrophysiological methods for deciphering large-scale activity-dependent neuroplasticity

German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases within the Helmholtz Association (DZNE)

Dresden, Germany

The German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) is a unique non-university research center which is dedicated to the subject dementia and all its areas, as well as other neurodegenerative diseases. The center compasses the full spectrum of fundamental research through population sciences to health care research. The DZNE stands for excellence in research and science management, translation of scientific results into practice, interdisciplinarity and internationalization. It is a research center within the Helmholtz Organization of German research centers. With over 1,000 employees from 55 nations, spread over 10 sites, the DZNE is one of the national and international leading research centers in its research field.

The DZNE in Dresden advertises a

PhD Studentship (f/m/d) Electrophysiological methods for deciphering large-scale activity-dependent neuroplasticity
Code 8022/2019/11

The laboratory of plasticity models for aging and neurodegeneration offers a PhD position for an outstanding candidate to study the activity-dependent plasticity changes (from circuits to network) in large-scale neurogenic models. The research will be carried out at the German center for neurodegenerative diseases (DZNE) in Dresden, Germany. The major objective of our lab is to examine groundbreaking questions on the functional and molecular role of newly-generated neurons in the adult brain. Using a variety of modern techniques (molecular and cellular biology, electrophysiology, genetics, opto-/chemogenetics, modeling, and neurocomputation), the aim is to discover the interaction across multiple forms of plasticity (functional and molecular) in new-born neurons and to characterize how this plasticity shapes information processing in neuronal circuits and networks. This is not only relevant in a healthy context but, in particular, at the early stages of neurodegeneration, when networks still can respond and be capable of reserve formation and recompense functions.

We are building a truly interdisciplinary research unit where experimental neuroscience, theory, and engineering expertise team up to foster advances in neuroscience and neurotechnologies. Join us and be one of the first ones using cutting-edge neurotech to improve the use of newly-generated neurons in the brain to stall aging and neurodegeneration. For more information on our research, check our lab page (

Project description
This PhD position is aimed to conduct and analyze multimodal multiscale experiments (molecular, cellular, and network) to understand the mechanisms of the functional plasticity by tackling the functional brain readouts from circuits to networks. These experiments will use a combination of modern approaches, including in-vitro and ex-vivo electrophysiology (high-resolution multielectrode arrays and patch-clamp recordings), Imaging-based assay, and opto-/chemogenetics. The aim is to obtain a fundamental understanding of neural regeneration circuitry and leveraging this for providing better disease models and novel treatments for neurodegenerative diseases. The successful candidate will take part in all aspects of the project, from experimental design, data generation, analyses, interpretation and writing of the manuscript.

Your tasks

  • Implement and develop independently in-vitro and ex-vivo electrophysiological experiments, new neuromethods, and protocols.
  • Participate in all aspects of the project, from experimental design, data generation, analyses, interpretation, and writing of the manuscript.
  • Having the outstanding capability of literature synthesis and troubleshooting of technical challenges.
  • Participating and presentation of project results in national and international events.

Your profile

  • Enthusiastic, creative team-player, fluent in English with a strong commitment to research.
  • Master degree in Neuroscience, Electrophysiology, Biophysics, Biomedical Engineering, and Neurobiology or relevant scientific/technical discipline with a keen interest in disease-oriented research, and a particular focus on plasticity.
  • Prior experience in electrophysiology (microelectrode arrays, extracellular field potential recordings, and patch-clamp) applied to brain slices, and isolated neurons is a plus but not a requirement as training in these disciplines will be provided. However, a keen interest in electrophysiology is prerequisite.
  • Knowledge in fluorescence and confocal microscopy, and imaging-based assays (such as calcium imaging).
  • Affinity for programming (MATLAB and Python) is a plus but not necessarily required.

We offer:

  • Advanced practical skills in experimental design, bioelectrical imaging, statistics, and advanced computational methods for data analysis.
  • Opportunity to learn cutting-edge neuroscience and neurotechniques in a competitive and instructive environment
  • Excellent infrastructure including modern workspaces
  • Dynamic and multicultural environment
  • You will obtain special skills and knowledge for your scientific qualification at DZNE. The DZNE is an equal opportunity employer. It especially welcomes and encourages disabled individuals to apply.

Please send your application in a single pdf file (in English) including:

  • a copy of your detailed CV with your up-to-date relevant experience
  • 1-page motivation letter
  • 1-page statement of scientific achievement and future research interests and plans
  • a list of most impactable publications, if any.
  • a copy of academic transcripts
  • Two or three academic references.

The application should be sent via as soon as possible but before February 15th, 2020. Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled.

Area of Research
Neuroscience, adult neurogenesis, neurodegeneration, neuroplasticity, electrophysiology, neuronal circuits, and networks.

Please apply via recruiter’s website.

Quote Reference: 8022/2019/11