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Molecular and cellular basis of major depressive disorder

Research group Huitinga
Location Amsterdam

Project description

The goal of this internship project is to obtain a molecular understanding of biomarkers for psychiatric symptoms. In a close collaboration between the Kole group (led by Prof. Maarten Kole), Huitinga group (led by Prof. Inge Huitinga) and the department of Psychiatry at the Amsterdam UMC (psychiatrist Karel Scheepstra), we are offering the opportunity to study neuron-glia interactions in a preclinical mouse model for depression and human postmortem tissue. Using immunohistochemistry and high-resolution microscopy you will study glutamatergic and GABAergic synapse density and pruning in major depressive disorder (MDD).

Internship tasks

We offer an internship at the NIN where you will be executing and receive expert training in research tasks including,

·         Preparing and handling mouse and post-mortem human brain tissue.

·         Immuno-histochemistry/fluorescence of synaptic markers and microglia.

·         Data curation using high-resolution confocal and superresolution microscopy.

·         Quantitative image analysis using Imaris software.

This internship offers you ample opportunities to collaborate environment of the Axonal Signaling department and other departments at the NIN. You will improve many research skills, including experimental designs and become proficient with high resolution microscopy, widely used across research fields. You will actively interact with other lab members working on a diverse range of neuron-glia research projects, will present your results in lab meetings. Importantly, you will also learn about applying scientific knowledge of biological psychiatry to the clinics.


We are looking for a highly motivated student with the following profile and background:

·         Knowledge of neuroscience, preferably in the 2nd year of a MSc in neuroscience. Medicine master students are also encouraged to apply.

·         Self-driven and an excellent team player.

·         Experience with immunohistochemistry and imaging tools.

·         Fluent in English writing and speaking.


The internship is full-time for a minimum duration of 6 months, and you will be situated at the NIN as part of the Kole group. The starting date is flexible, preferably in September. Please note that there will be no financial support provided for this internship by the institute.

Please email your application directly to Prof. Maarten Kole ( with the subject line “Synapse density internship – [Your name]”, including the following documents:

·         A short cover letter or email explaining what interests you about the project and highlighting relevant previous experience.

·         Up-to-date CV.

·         One recommendation letter, if possible.

Evaluation of candidates will continue until the vacancy is filled. Interested candidates are also welcomed to contact us for inquiries and visit us!

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