PhD or Postdoc in the Social Brain Lab

The Social Brain Lab has an exciting opportunity’s for a PhD student  or a Postdoctoral researcher to study the neural basis of social decision-making in rodents
3 years


The Social Brain Lab has an exciting opportunity’s for a PhD student or a Postdoctoral researcher to study the neural basis of social decision-making in rodents.

Project and methods

The social brain lab has pioneered the investigation of the mechanisms of empathy in rodents and humans. We now look for a talented scientist with a passion for studying how the brain triggers social behavior in rodents. You would fine tune behavioral models of social decision-making in rats and mice, and work together with experts in optogenetics and electrophysiology in the lab to unravel the circuitry that drives a rodents to prevent pain to others. Our lab offers an excellent, highly collaborative international team with expertise in optogenetics, calcium imaging, behavior and neuroimaging in humans and rodents to jointly explore what makes rats and humans prosocial. If you have a positive, flexible, energetic attitude and a strong affinity for social neuroscience, for training rodents to do amazing things and to use cutting edge methods to understand the mechanisms of that behavior, this could be a strong opportunity to develop an outstanding CV in the emergent field of social neuroscience.

Desired skills and experience

  • Master/PhD in behavioral neuroscience or related fields.
  • Experience with and affinity towards rodent behavior.
  • Experience with and affinity towards stereotaxic surgeries in rodents.
  • Highly motivated, energetic, detail orientated and capable to work and troubleshoot independently and collaboratively.
  • Have excellent oral and written communication skills in English.
  • For postdocs: At least one excellent publication in behavioral neuroscience


The project will be held at the Social Brain Lab (SBL), led by Christian Keysers and Valeria Gazzola. The lab investigates the neural bases of empathy by combining human and animal experiments with last-generation imaging and neuro-modulatory techniques. The Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience is the country’s leading fundamental neuroscience research institute. Both the PIs have an additional position at the University of Amsterdam, one of the top psychology departments in Europe. Together this provides a critical mass of experts in the most advanced neuroscience techniques, together with a dynamic multi-cultural environment. English is the working language of the research group and is extremely well spoken in the vibrant and international city of Amsterdam, creating an attractive, progressive and easy-to-integrate environment.

The SBL is highly diverse, with members from more than 8 nations (from South-America to India) with backgrounds ranging from biology to engineering with an emphasis on biology and psychology. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, age, protected veteran or status as disabled status, or genetic information.


The salary will be commensurate with experience and institutional guidelines based on the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities; CAO NU). Full time monthly salary for a PhD student is € 2.395,- in the 1st year to € 3.061,- in the 4th year before taxes. The starting salary for a postdoctoral researcher depends on experience and ranges from € 3.217,- to € 4.402.- before taxes. A 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% year-end bonus are excluded. We offer travel expenses, paid parental leave, flexible working hours, 30 days paid leave per year and help by finding a house.


The position is for a period of 3 years in total. The first appointment is for one year with the option for an extension for the remaining period pending on an evaluation.

Starting date

As soon as the ideal candidate is identified.

Application and deadline

Applicants are welcomed to submit their application through (and only through) the online form at for postdocs and for PhD students until the 2nd of November 2020. Do NOT use the respond button on top of this page.

The online application will include four sections:
1) general information
2) education and research experience
3) research and personal skills
3) CV, motivation letter and recommendation letters.

For any encountered problems, or further information please email

Evaluation of candidates will begin immediately, and after about 4 weeks from the deadline candidates will be informed whether they passed the first round or not. Shortlisted candidates will receive, taking into account candidates’ availability, an assignment to be done within 48h. Based on the results of the assignment, we will organize a 1h Zoom interview followed by a visit on site. We foresee a final decision to be communicated within three months after the first submission date. If no excellent candidate can be identified, we might readvertise the position.

Any acquisition further to this advertisement will not be appreciated