Job ID: 85974

Postdoctoral and PhD positions to study brain circuits that mediate the effect of abnormal lighting on mood

Position: Post-doctoral Position

Deadline: 31 August 2022

Employment Start Date: 1 October 2022

Contract Length: Funding for PhD students is available for three years and can be extended if necessary; funding for postdoctoral fellows is available for one year, thereafter, the fellow (with the help of the principle investigator) will be responsible for securing funds from external sources.

City: Jerusalem

Country: Israel

Institution: Hebrew University

Department: Department of Medical Neurobiology, Faculty of Medicine


Light impacts mood in ways we are only beginning to recognize. The short days of winter can trigger seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Whereas, combining light with antidepressant therapy outperforms antidepressant therapy alone, not only in SAD patients, but also in non-seasonal major depressive disorder (MDD). Thus, light affects mood and can augment antidepressant therapy. However, the mechanisms underlying the effect of light on mood have remained unclear. The recent demonstration that a retino-thalamo-frontocortical/striatal pathway is necessary and sufficient for the induction of depression by abnormal lighting places us in a unique position to resolve this mystery. Our lab studies the synaptic input, functional organization, and broader behavioral significance of this pathway. The mechanistic insights obtained will pave the way for the development of treatments for light-dependent mood disorders.

We use mouse genetic models and combine: (1) in vitro and in vivo functional imaging and electrophysiology, (2) optogenetic and chemogenetic manipulations of neural activity, (3) light cycle manipulation and circadian activity monitoring, and (4) behavioral analysis.

Successful candidates will show solid communication skills in English, ability to work both independently and as part of a research team, strong scientific motivation, and skill in data processing. Experience in one or more of the following would be an advantage: intracranial surgeries, optogenetics, animal behavioral analysis, in vivo electrophysiology and calcium imaging, and Matlab or python programing.