Job ID: 81879

PhD Position for the EU project HYVIS: Building hybrid synapses as a therapeutic strategy for photoreceptor degeneration

Position: Ph.D. Student

Deadline: 15 June 2022

Employment Start Date: 1 November 2022

Contract Length: 3 years


Country: Italy

Institution: The Italian Institute of Technology

Department: Center for Synaptic Neuroscience and Technology


PhD position for the project

“Building hybrid synapses as a therapeutic strategy for photoreceptor degeneration”

A PhD position in the area of hybrid synapses and photosensitive neural interfaces is available at the Center for Synaptic Neuroscience and Technology (NSYN) directed by dr. Fabio Benfenati at the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Genova (Italy). We are looking for a talented and enthusiastic fellow who will join our team to realize and study innovative hybrid synaptic connections to integrate neuronal losses caused by neurodegenerative diseases.

The project aims at the development and characterization of a device able to release glutamate upon illumination by a plasmonic enhancement of electromagnetic radiation. These opto-neural interfaces will be tested on neural cells and tissues in vitro and ex vivo. In particular, the candidate will be in a unique position to join a multidisciplinary team (medicine, biology, physics and chemistry) and to exploit recent advances in the development of nano-tools able to elicit light-driven stimulation of dystrophic neural tissue such as a degenerated retina in the framework of a dedicated research line on “Neuroscience and Smart Materials”.

Applicants should have a background in Biology/Biotechnology, Biomedical Engineering. Previous experience in molecular biology and viral vectors are welcome. The ideal candidate wishes to develop practical skills on the nano-functionalization of the devices with adhesion molecules and viral vectors able to recreate the secluded environment of a retinal synapse.

The PhD contract will be funded by a H2020 FET-OPEN project (HyVIS) and awarded by the University of Genova starting November 2022. Please submit your application (deadline June 30, 2022), including CV and a 2-pages research statement, to and quoting the project title in the subject line. Candidates must also request 1-3 reference letters to be sent directly to the same email addresses by the referees.