Job ID: 86172

PhD-Position in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis research

Position: Ph.D. Student

Deadline: 29 August 2022

Employment Start Date: 1 October 2022

Contract Length: 4 years

City: Leuven

Country: Belgium

Institution: KU Leuven

Department: Imaging and Pathology


Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a rare neurodegenerative disorder that leads over time to a more and more severe loss of motor function. The reason for this loss of motor function is that the motor neurons in the spinal cord as well as the primary motor neurons in the precentral gyrus degenerate. In this project we want to learn how these motor neurons degenerate. For this purpose, we will histopathologically determine which cell death pathways are activated in motor neurons in deceased ALS patient tissue samples. Additionally, in mouse models we will clarify the functional impact of the identified cell death pathways by inhibiting them.


Project tasks:

  • Pathological analyses of human brain tissue, including quantitative analyses.
  • Biochemical analysis of human brain tissue (Western blotting, immunoprecipitation, ELISA, etc.)
  • Pathological and biochemical analysis of mouse brain tissue including quantitative analyses.
  • Treatment of mice with cell death inhibitors


  • You will do animal experiments with transgenic mice.
  • You will do immunohistochemical and immunofluorescence stainings and analysis of human and mouse brain samples, as well as biochemical analysis of human brain samples.
  • You will supervise lab rotation students and master students.
  • You will report your data to your supervisors, other researchers, as well at (international) conferences.



The candidate should be experienced in the following techniques:

  • Immunohistochemistry, immunofluorescence
  • Microscopy
  • Sample preparation for biochemical analysis
  • Western blot analysis
  • PCR analysis
  • Working with lab animals
  • The candidate should fluently speak and write English and should be able to work in a team with a high degree of autonomy


What we are looking for:


  • You have a Master degree according to EU standards
  • You meet the English language criteria of KU Leuven
  • You have a FELASA B certificate for carrying out animal experiments (if not, we expect that you follow the FELASA B course within the first 3 months)
  • You are willing to work with patient tissue and to conduct animal experiments
  • Highly motivated, enthusiastic, critical, and creative
  • You have the ability to work in a team and to present your results at national or international conferences



  • We offer a full time 4-year contract for a PhD student position (financed by KU Leuven). However, the candidate will be encouraged to apply for personal funding.
  • You will be working on a hot topic in ALS research, in a leading research team with a widespread network of international and local collaborators, and in an excellent international research environment at KU Leuven and VIB.
  • Promotion of your PhD thesis to be written within the four years
  • Participation in an individually shaped PhD Program with different opportunities to present and share data on weekly seminars, lectures and international conferences.
  • Access to different state-of-the-art core facilities of KU Leuven and the VIB Center for Brain & Disease Research.

Please apply via: Vacancies (