Postdoc Fellow in Neuronal Physiology at ETH Zurich

ETH Zurich, Switzerland is offering postdoc position. There is no application deadline for this position.

ETH Zurich is one of the world's leading universities specialising in science and technology. It is renowned for its excellent education, its cutting-edge fundamental research and its efforts to put new knowledge and innovations directly into practice. The Laboratory for Systems Neuroscience, Department of Health Science & Technology at ETH Zurich, is recruiting for its team per September 2019, or by mutual agreement a new position.The main task of the candidate will be to elucidate the role of neuronal microRNAs in the formation and plasticity of neuronal circuits and how this translates into alterations in higher cognitive functions and emotional processing. Therefore, the candidate will establish and perform in vitro (primary neuronal cultures) and ex vivo (rodent brain slice preparations) electrophysiological recordings (patch-clamp, field recordings, multielectrode arrays) and alternative imaging-based assays (e.g. calcium imaging). The main focus of the lab is the regulation of neuronal development and function by non-coding RNA-dependent mechanisms. During the development of neural circuits, activity-dependent gene expression programs orchestrate the correct formation, pruning and plasticity of synapses, which in turn is critical for neuronal network homeostasis and the ability to adapt to changes in the environment. Consequently, alterations in these programs lead to neurodevelopmental disorders, such as autism and schizophrenia. Post-transcriptional control of gene expression by non-coding RNAs, in particular microRNAs, has recently emerged as an important mechanism governing synapse development and plasticity (Schratt, Nature Rev. Neurosci. 2009). Interestingly, specific microRNAs are enriched in neuronal dendrites, where they regulate the local translation of important synaptic proteins in response to extracellular stimulation (Schratt et al., Nature 2006; Siegel et al., Nat. Cell Biol. 2009; Valluy et al., Nat. Neurosci 2015; Rajman et al., EBMO J. 2018; Lackinger et al., EMBO Rep. 2019). Nevertheless, the physiological role of microRNAs in neural circuit development and animal behaviour in the intact organism is largely unexplored. The study of mouse models with altered microRNA function in specific brain circuits will allow us to determine the physiological role of this pathway in brain areas associated with specific behaviours as well as the underlying molecular mechanisms.

Successful candidates will work under the direct supervision of Prof. Gerhard Schratt. We are looking for outstanding and highly motivated candidates who hold a PhD degree in a relevant discipline and have strong experience in electrophysiological recordings (patch-clamp, field recordings, multielectrode arrays) and calcium imaging in brain slices and isolated neurons. The expertise acquired during a PhD or equivalent enables her/him to build up the required infrastructure, perform recordings independently and train students in relevant techniques. Further required are a strong interest in molecular neuroscience and the motivation to pursue an independent line of research. He or she needs an outstanding publication record in peer-reviewed international journals as well as presenting results in conferences. The candidate should have the ability and self-motivation to work both independently and as a team player. German language skills are not required, English is mandatory.


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