Job ID: 115342

PhD in rodent social neuroscience: Ultrasound Imaging of the circuit of emotional contagion

Position: Ph.D. Student

Deadline: 4 September 2023

City: Amsterdam

Country: Netherlands

Institution: Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience



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Location: Amsterdam
Max hours per week: 38

Max salary: 2.770,-
Duration of agreement: 1 – 4 Years

Apply until: 4 September 2023

Although much is known about the involvement of certain brain regions such as the anterior cingulate cortex in emotional  contagion, the whole circuit and information flows involved in sharing the emotions of others remains poorly understood. During the PhD you’ll have the opportunity to map the whole brain circuit involved in emotional contagion using ultrasound imaging in rodents and characterize how these regions are functionally connected through a combination of functional connectivity analyses and systematic inhibition of the network nodes.

The Dutch Brain Interface Initiative (DBI2)

Your PhD trajectory will be embedded in the DBI2 program, which brings together expertise in neuroscience, neuro-engineering and computation sciences to foster novel approaches to brain-machine interfaces. During your PhD you’ll therefore have the opportunity to exchange knowledge and ideas with many other PhD students, postdocs and leaders from all over the Netherlands, with a great diversity of background knowledge.

Work description

Your Role

During your PhD you will have the opportunity to:

  • study the brain functional connectivity within the circuit responding to the emotional state of conspecifics in mice;
  • determine how alteration of the activity in one of these nodes affect the response in the other node;
  • determine how past experience with a particular emotional state affects such functional connectivity patterns
  • learn or deepen your knowledge of ultrasound imaging and acquired head fixed ultrasound images from awake mice
  • advance your analytical skills about functional connectivity
  • collaborate and learn from some of the leaders in the ultrasound imaging field
  • closely collaborate and coordinate with other member of the DBI2 consortium at different seniority levels
  • publish your findings in open access scientific journals.

Your Profile

We are looking for an enthusiastic team-player, who:

  • has a research master in the field of neuroscience or related fields;
  • enjoys intense and advanced data analyses and statistical inferences;
  • enjoys hands-on working on complex experimental set-ups
  • functions well both in a team and independently, and possess good communication skills;
  • has proven experience with statistics and statistical softwares;
  • is willing to travel within the NL and to Belgium for short collaborative stays;
  • enjoys finalizing projects and writing papers

You should expect from us

We will:

  • Help you acquiring the skills to manage a challenging, varied project with major scientific and societal impact.
  • Offer the opportunity to develop a unique profile at the forefront of functional ultrasound  imaging\
  • offer a wide collaborative network within and outside the Netherlands
  • offer the opportunity to exchange ideas with leading scientists in the field of neuroscience, neuro-engineering and computational science
  • help you become an expert in social neuroscience in rodents
  • give you the opportunity, within DIB2, to be part of a larger community of PhD student with a specific training program
  • offer guidance, support and mentoring from at least two PIs
  • offer a contract for 4 years for 1.0 fte conform the CAO for PhD students.

Lab Environment

The Social Brain Lab & the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience will be your main home, in which one of your direct supervisor will be working on a daily base and where you will be appointed.

The Social Brain Lab is the results of the joint venture of the research groups of Valeria Gazzola and Christian Keysers aiming at shedding light on the neural mechanisms of empathy by combining studies in humans and rodents. The SBL is funded by multiple European (ERC, Marie Curie) and Dutch (VIDI, VICI, Gravity, XL) grants, and is characterized by an unusually diverse environment, with members from all over the world, backgrounds (ranging from philosophy to engineering with an emphasis on biology and psychology), and neuroscientific techniques (spanning from ultra-high field fMRI in humans to single-cell recordings in rodents). The SBL is appreciated for its collaborative, enthusiastic and supportive environment, where people strive to become successful, recognized and appreciated scientists. We value an open culture where everybody feels free to ask questions and make suggestions.

Information about the procedure

IMPORTANT NOTE: Only applications that have filled in the current application form (‘Apply now’ button on the KNAW website) AND the form you will find here ( will be considered

Evaluation of candidates will begin immediately, and after about 4 weeks from the deadline candidates will be informed whether they passed the first round or not. Shortlisted candidates may receive, taking into account candidates’ availability, a short assignment to be done within 48h. Based on the results of the assignment, we will organize a 1h Zoom interview followed by a visit on site. We foresee a final decision to be communicated within three months after the first submission date. If no excellent candidate can be identified, we might re-advertise the position.

The appointment will initially be for 12 months and if evaluated positively extended with 3 years and must lead to the completion of a PhD thesis.

We will not respond to any supplier enquiries based on this job advertisement.

You can submit your motivation letter and curriculum vitae via this system no later than 4 September 2023.

About the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience
The Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience is the country’s leading fundamental neuroscience research institute, in the international and progressive city of Amsterdam. It provides a critical mass of scientists (spanning more than 27 nationalities) and neuroscience facilities, in a highly interactive, dynamic, multi-cultural environment, with English as the working language.

Terms of employment
The minimum salary is € 2.770,- (1st year) and the maximum salary is € 3.539,- (4th year) gross per month for a full-time appointment (PhD scale cao Nederlandse Universiteiten/KNAW). This is exclusive of 8% vacation allowance, 8.3% year-end bonus, travel allowance, internet allowance, home working allowance and pension accrual with ABP.

The KNAW offers its staff an excellent package of secondary benefits. A package that meets the different needs of employees depending on their stage of life, lifestyle or career ambitions. For example, by working an extra two hours a week, it is possible to increase the number of days off from 29 to 41 days a year (with full-time employment).

For a complete overview of the terms of employment, please refer to the web page: werken bij de KNAW.

Diversity & Inclusion
The KNAW considers a working environment in which everyone feels welcome and appreciated of great importance. A working environment in which attention is paid to individual quality and where development opportunities are paramount. Together we strive for an inclusive culture in which we embrace differences. We would therefore like to invite candidates who want to contribute to this through their background and experience. In the event of equal suitability, preference will be given to the candidate who thus enhances diversity within the Academy.

We will not respond to any supplier enquiries based on this job advertisement.