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PhD Position Innate Visual Behavior – Heimel lab

Research group Heimel
Location Amsterdam
Duration 4 years

Location: Amsterdam
Max hours per week: 38 hrs
Max salary: € 3.539
Duration of agreement: Four years: first for one year, the contract will be extended in case of proper functioning
Apply until: April 15th, 2024

What you will be doing?

You will investigate the neural mechanisms underlying visual innate behavior and the modulation of this behavior by fear and curiosity. You will study this in awake behaving mice using a combination of techniques, such as electrophysiology and calcium imaging using two-photon microscopy or fiber photometry, and selectively perturb brain function by optogenetic, chemogenetic and pharmacological means. The project focuses on the superior colliculus and connecting areas. In collaboration, you will design experiments, develop experimental paradigms, perform surgeries and recordings, analyse multidimensional data and draft papers.

Who are we looking for?

We are a looking for an outstanding candidate with a strong quantitative background keen to record from the brain at the microscopic level. The ideal candidate has, or is about to receive, an MSc in neuroscience, biomedical engineering, biology, physics or a related field. Excellent coding skills will be required for developing the experimental paradigms and analysing the multidimensional data. Proficiency in English, and experience with animal experiments is a plus.

What do we offer?

We offer an exciting project on the modulation of innate behavior. You will join the Circuits, Structure & Function group at the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience, where state of the art experimental techniques are used in a very dynamic field of research. The position is for 1.0 fte (38 h/week). You will have ample opportunities for further development of knowledge and technical and personal skills through courses at the Academy and (inter)national conferences.

More information

Please contact Alexander Heimel ( General information about the group can be found at For recent relevant publications from the Heimel lab, see:

Ahmadlou et al. A cell type–specific cortico-subcortical brain circuit for investigatory and novelty-seeking behavior. Science, 2021.

Tafreshiha et al. Visual stimulus-specific habituation of innate defensive behaviour in mice. J Exp Biol, 2021.

Cazemier et al. Involvement of superior colliculus in complex figure detection of mice. eLife, 2024.

Montijn et al. A parameter-free statistical test for neuronal responsiveness. eLife, 2021

How to apply?

Please submit your motivation letter, curriculum vitae and the names or letters of two or more references, via the button Apply now, before April 15th, 2024.

About the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience

The Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience is the country’s leading fundamental neuroscience research institute, in the international and progressive city of Amsterdam. It provides a critical mass of scientists (spanning more than 27 nationalities) and neuroscience facilities, in a highly interactive, dynamic, multi-cultural environment, with English as the working language.

Terms of employment

Depending on education and experience the minimum salary is € 2.770 and the maximum salary is € 3.539 gross per month for a full-time appointment (scale P cao Nederlandse Universiteiten/KNAW). This is exclusive of 8% vacation allowance, 8.3% year-end bonus, travel allowance, internet allowance, home working allowance and pension accrual with ABP.

The KNAW offers its staff an excellent package of secondary benefits. A package that meets the different needs of employees depending on their stage of life, lifestyle or career ambitions. For example, by working an extra two hours a week, it is possible to increase the number of days off from 29 to 41 days a year (with full-time employment).

For a complete overview of the terms of employment, please refer to the web page: werken bij de KNAW.

Applying for a Certificate of Good Conduct can be part of the employment procedure.

Diversity & Inclusion

The KNAW considers a working environment in which everyone feels welcome and appreciated of great importance. A working environment in which attention is paid to individual quality and where development opportunities are paramount. Together we strive for an inclusive culture in which we embrace differences. We would therefore like to invite candidates who want to contribute to this through their background and experience. In the event of equal suitability, preference will be given to the candidate who thus enhances diversity within the Academy.

We will not respond to any supplier enquiries based on this job advertisement.

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