PhD position: Mechanisms of sensory perception in cortex

Research / Academic

The Cortical Microcircuits and In Vivo Neurophysiology teams are looking for a talented PhD candidate for a 4-year project that will be carried out at the Integrative Neurophysiology (INF) division at the Center for Neurogenomics and Cognitive Research (CNCR) at the VU Amsterdam.

The sensory areas of the cerebral cortex process sensory information from the external world and distribute this information throughout the brain to orchestrate appropriate behavioral output. How activity of projection neurons that target other cortical and subcortical areas generate behavioral output is poorly understood. By combining electrophysiological recordings with genetic targeting of specific cell types, we study how internally generated information streams (such as motion and motivation) modulate sensory responses in the cortex and in downstream areas of rodents during sensorimotor behaviors. Detailed understanding of cell type-specific function will inspire anatomically and functionally realistic models of the brain to improve our understanding of how sensory information from the world is transformed into perception, and ultimately into behavior.
As a PhD candidate, your research will aim to elucidate the neural circuit mechanisms underlying the transformation of sensation into perception.

Your duties

  • You will use a repertoire of state-of-the-art approaches in circuit neuroscience such

as single unit and population electrophysiology in anaesthetized and behaving mice,
opto- or chemogenetics and histology.

  • You will have the opportunity to supervise Bachelor’s and Master’s students.


  • We are looking for candidates with a master in neuroscience and a strong motivation

to pursue a career in science.

  • Prior experience with single unit electrophysiology, imaging and surgical techniques

is essential.

Salary Benefits:

A challenging position in a socially involved organization. You will be part of a collaborative, enthusiastic team consisting of multiple PhD-students and experienced post-docs in which we collectively work on important research questions. The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel and amounts € 2.770 (PhD) per month during the first year and increases to € 3.539 (PhD) per month during the fourth year, based on a full-time employment. The job profile: is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for at least 1 FTE.
The appointment will initially be for 1 year. After a satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment, the contract will be extended for a total duration of 4 years.
Additionally, the VU Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:

  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus
  • contribution to commuting expenses
  • optional model for designing a personalized benefits package
Work Hours:

38 hours per week


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