Connecting European Neuroscience

Ph.D. Student in Lübeck/Germany

04 September 2019

Ph.D. Student in Lübeck/Germany

Job ID


The researchers in the DFG-funded Graduiertenkolleg 1957 in Lübeck study the effects of adipose tissue hormones on CNS function and in turn, the control of adipose tissue physiology by the brain. We are looking for highly motivated candidates for the following project.
Tentative start: May 2020. Earlier start date could be discussed with the PIs in the interview.

PhD Position in Parkinson`s Disease as a model for mechanisms of body weight regulation

Project Description:
Parkinson`s disease (PD) is often accompanied by significant changes of body weight depending on disease stage and concomitant therapy. Following deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the subthalamic nucleus (STN), PD patients frequently show a massive weight gain, whereas non-operated PD patients typically lose weight over the disease course. Several mechanisms must be considered when studying weight changes in PD including ongoing neurodegeneration of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra, degeneration of extranigral neurons, involvement of peripheral tissues and dopaminergic treatment. With regard to anti-Parkinsonian therapy, dopamine was shown to increase thermogenesis and mitochondrial mass in brown adipocytes. The aim of the project is to prospectively study drug-naïve PD patients and healthy controls to understand the impact of neurodegeneration and dopaminergic replacement therapy on the body weight, body composition and adipose tissue alterations.

Experimental Methods:
Two groups of subjects: drug-naïve PD patients and healthy controls
Resting and movement related energy expenditure by indirect calorimetry
Body composition by air displacement plethysmography
BAT activation by infrared thermography camera
Resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and neural response to food stimuli (task-related fMRI)
Gene expression of adipokines and metabolically relevant parameters, e.g. glycolysis, ß-oxidation, lipolysis


Research-based master's degree or equivalent (e.g. diploma) passed with an excellent grade in biology, biochemistry, molecular life science, neuroscience, nutrition & biomedicine, pharmacology or a related subject

Excellent English language skills in speaking and writing

Pro-active attitude, good communication skills and ability to work independently in an interdisciplinary team

Apply here:

Job Information

Closing date:
Employment start date:
Contract length:
3 years
University of Lübeck, GRK1957 "Adipocyte-Brain Crosstalk"
Institute of Neurobiology

Contact Information

Julia Steinhardt
Ratzeburger Allee 160

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