Job ID: 117688

PhD studentship in the field of synaptic physiology

Position: Ph.D. Student

Deadline: 3 March 2024

Employment Start Date: 1 May 2024

Contract Length: three years

City: Bonn

Country: Germany

Institution: University of Bonn

Department: Institute of Cellular Neurosciences


A neuroscience PhD studentship in the field of synaptic physiology is available in the laboratory of Prof. Christian Henneberger at the Institute of Cellular Neurosciences (University of Bonn, Germany). The position is part of a larger effort to understand how the plasticity of excitatory synapses is controlled by co-agonists of the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDARs). We explore how neurons and non-neuronal cells shape synaptic plasticity, and in turn learning, by supplying the NMDAR co-agonists D-serine and glycine using newly designed optical indicators for D-serine and glycine. Specifically, we plan to optimize the current generation of optical indicators to study D-serine and glycine signaling in the rodent hippocampus. This will be achieved by using state-of-the-art optical and electrophysiological methods such as intensity and lifetime based multiphoton fluorescence microscopy of genetically encoded and organic indicators.

The specific aim of the project is to first improve the current generation of D-serine and/or glycine indicators by optimizing their structure, fluorophores, membrane targeting and expression in the brain using established techniques. It is then planned to visualize the extracellular dynamics of D-serine and/or glycine in the hippocampus in acute slice preparations and in the awake mouse in vivo in scenarios involving synaptic plasticity, i.e. the cellular mechanisms underlying learning. The project relies on an extensive experimental toolset for optical sensor design, monitoring and manipulating neurotransmitter and intracellular signalling. In addition, a broad spectrum of imaging approaches and electrophysiological methods is available to dissect the topic further. Additional information about our research, research methods and recent publications can be found at

Applicants should have a Master of Science (M.Sc.) or equivalent academic degree in a relevant field of science. In addition, applicants should ideally have experience in some of the mentioned techniques.

The position is available from the 1st of May 2024. The contract initially runs for three years. The salary will be according to the German salary scale (65% TV-L E13). The University of Bonn is an equal opportunities employer.