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PhD Position in Early Life Stress and Alzheimer’s Disease


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Research / Academic


Are you fascinated by the way early life factors can influence the brain and its structure and functioning in later life? Do you want to know whether early life stress can lead to Alzheimer’s Disease and how? Do you enjoy working in a lab with preclinical models and at the same time enjoy working with human data? Then this position might be perfect for you!

We are looking for a highly qualified and motivated PhD candidate to conduct research activities aimed at unravelling the role of mitochondria in the pathophysiology of Alzheimer’s Dementia in the context of early life stress. This project has been funded by Alzheimer Nederland. The position is embedded within the Brain Plasticity Group in the team of dr. Aniko Korosi at the Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences (SILS), University of Amsterdam (UvA). This is a collaborative project with the team of dr. Susanne de Rooij at the department of Epidemiology and Data Science at the Amsterdam University Medical Center, location AMC with whom the human part of the work will be performed with.

What are you going to do?

Your work will focus on assessing the effects of early life stress on mitochondria biology in synapses, glial cells and blood cells of WT and AD mice. In addition, you will test whether manipulations of mitochondria via the diet or targeted strategies protect against AD-related deficits after early life stress. Finally, you will examine in a cohort of individuals who have been exposed to undernutrition during pregnancy whether this form of early life stress affects mitochondrial measures in blood monocytes and whether this can predict cognitive and brain aging.

Tasks and responsibilities:

  • complete and defend a PhD thesis within the official appointment duration of four years;
  • gain knowledge of the field through literature survey, discussion with team members, and internal lab meetings;
  • contribute to the design of experiments, perform experiments, analyse and interpret results of the experiments;
  • take a leading role in writing manuscripts;
  • perform statistical analyses on data from animal models and human cohorts;
  • be an active member of the research teams at both SILS and AMC;
  • present your results at (inter)national scientific meetings;
  • participate in the Faculty of Science PhD training programme;
  • assist in teaching undergraduates and Master’s students and co-supervise junior scientists (technicians, MSc/BSc students).


You are passionate about science and have a particular interest in and preferably have knowledge, of early life origins of disease and Alzheimer’s Disease. You like a challenge and you are not afraid of combining work on preclinical models with work on human data. You have good statistical skills and experience with statistical packages such as SPSS. You like to work in diverse settings as you have to combine work in the lab with work in an Epidemiology group. You are a team player and a nice colleague who enjoys being part of an interdisciplinary team of scientists. Finally, you have good time management skills enabling you to meet the projects’ deadlines for finishing analyses, reports and other deliverables.

Your experience and profile

  • MSc in Biology, Neuroscience/ (neuro-)immunology or related fields;
  • preferably experience with big data and omics analyses and coding (e.g. python, R), performing animal experiments and basic knowledge

on classical neuroscientific methods (e.g. dissections, immunohistochemistry, western blot, PCR, in vitro assays, cell type sorting);

  • good project and time management skills enabling you to meet the projects’ deadlines for finishing analyses, reports and other deliverables;
  • good analytical, writing and presenting skills;
  • fluency in English, both written and spoken and the willingness to learn Dutch (in case not Dutch native speaker);
  • It is a preference if you have experience with performing statistical analyses on large datasets and with mitochondria research (e.g. seahorse).

Salary Benefits:

A temporary contract for 38 hours per week for the duration of 4 years (the initial contract will be for a period of 18 months and after satisfactory evaluation it will be extended for a total duration of 4 years). The preferred starting date is 1 May 2023. This should lead to a dissertation (PhD thesis). We will draft an educational plan that includes attendance of courses and (international) meetings. We also expect you to assist in teaching undergraduates and master students.

Your salary will range between €2,541 in the first year to €3,247 gross per month in the last year of employment, on the basis of a full working week of 38 hours. This sum does not include the 8% holiday allowance and the 8.3% year-end allowance. A favorable tax agreement, the 30% ruling, may apply to non-Dutch applicants. The Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (CAO NU) is applicable.

Besides the salary and a vibrant and challenging environment at Science Park we offer you multiple fringe benefits:

  • 232 holiday hours per year (based on fulltime);
  • multiple courses to follow from our Teaching and Learning Centre;
  • a complete educational program for PhD students;
  • a pension at ABP for which UvA pays two third part of the contribution;
  • the possibility to follow courses to learn Dutch;
  • help with housing for a studio or small apartment when you’re moving from abroad.

Are you curious to read more about our extensive package of secondary employment benefits, take a look here.

Work Hours:

38 hours per week


Science Park 904

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