Job ID: 59813

Researcher position for studies of memory mechanisms using zebrafish

Position: Researcher

Deadline: 16 September 2021

Employment Start Date: 1 October 2021

Contract Length: Two years

City: Uppsala

Country: Sweden

Institution: Uppsala University

Department: Neuroscience


The laboratory of Prof. Dan Larhammar is recruiting a researcher to investigate the roles of candidate memory genes using zebrafish behavioural pradigms for spatial and social memory. The work also includes evolutionary comparisons of memory genes and proteins by analysis of sequences, gene duplications and chromosomal synteny. The anatomical distribution of the memory proteins in the zebrafish brain will be mapped by in situ hybridization, immunohistochemistry and reporter constructs in genetically modified zebrafish.

The project will involve collaboration with other research teams with expertise in spatial memory paradigms in our department and social memory paradigms at University of Gothenburg. Together the teams cover a broad range of expertise in molecular biology, genetics, evolutionary biology, ecology and behaviour.

Requirements: To qualify for an employment as a postdoctor you must have a PhD degree or a foreign degree equivalent to a PhD degree and expertise in studies of fish behaviour, ideally also bioinformatics for evolutionary studies based on comparisons of sequence and synteny, and anatomical studies using in situ hybridization. The PhD degree must have been obtained no more than three years prior to the application deadline. The three year period can be extended due to circumstances such as sick leave, parental leave, duties in labour unions, etc. Good English language skills and good ability to work in a team are required. The applicant is required to have FELASA function A certificate (directive 2010/63/ EU, article 23 and 24) for work with animals and experience of work with fish.

Learning and long-term memory are intriguing and fascinating properties of vertebrate brains. Numerous proteins have been found to be involved in these processes in mouse and rat. Our evolutionary analyses have shown that virtually all of these proteins arose before the origin of jawed vertebrates. We are therefore studying their importance in learning and long-term memory in zebrafish, a widely used model species in biomedical research. We use CRISPR/Cas9 to inactivate genes and to make reporter constructs. Such modified zebrafish have now been generated for protein kinases implicated in long-term memory. Behavioural studies of spatial and social memory will be carried out to compare the genetically modified zebrafish with wildtype animals. The project also includes the use bioinformatics to deduce evolutionary relationships of memory genes using both sequence-based phylogeny and comparison of synteny.

As memory mechanisms have so far mostly been investigated in mouse and rat, we find it important to expand the evolutionary perspective by studying more distant relatives of mammals, in our case the zebrafish. If memory mechanisms turn out to be similar in zebrafish and the two rodents, this will provide a much firmer ground for extrapolation to humans. On the other hand, if the functional roles differ between zebrafish and rodents, we cannot be sure if the rodent situation will apply to humans. Central proteins in the memory machinery are different types of glutamate receptors, especially AMPA- receptors and NMDA-receptors, and various proteins that regulate these receptors. We are initially focusing on protein kinases that regulate AMPA-receptor turnover in memory synapses.

Uppsala University is a comprehensive research-intensive university with a strong international standing. Our ultimate goal is to conduct education and research of the highest quality and relevance to make a long-term difference in society. Our most important assets are all the individuals whose curiosity and dedication make Uppsala University one of Sweden’s most exciting workplaces. Uppsala University has over 45,000 students, more than 7,000 employees and a turnover of around SEK 7 billion.

The research performed at the department of Neuroscience covers the normal function of the nervous system, its development as well as how function of the nervous system is altered following injury and in disease, and how to improve treatment of patients with these disorders. In addition, studies are carried out on genetic and acquired factors that can give rise to or contribute to nervous system disorders and underlie personality disorders (e.g. drug abuse, criminality).

The application should include:

– A short letter with a description of your research interests and how you could contribute to the project. – CV with complete publication list.
– Copy of PhD certificate.
– Copy of FELASA function A certificate (directive 2010/63/EU, article 23 and 24).

– Contact information for at least two references (email and phone number). Salary: Individual salary.

Starting date: 01-10-2021 or as otherwise agreed.

Type of employment: Temporary position according to central collective agreement.

Scope of employment: 100 %.

For further information about the position please contact: Dan Larhammar, dan.larhammar@neuro.

Please submit your application by 16 September 2021, UFV-PA 2021/3205.

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