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Fully funded PhD Student Position; Molecular and Cellular Neurobiology / Neurogenetics; University of Fribourg, Switzerland

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Research focus on nociception
Nociception is the process of detecting and encoding noxious stimuli in the nervous system. It underlies important responses, like aversive behaviors, which are crucial to avoid tissue damage; and pain, which is an important medical concern. Discovering and understanding novel molecular and cellular mechanisms controlling nociception is essential to develop the next generation of pain killer drugs.
We study the mechanisms controlling the function of nociceptor neurons and downstream neural circuits. We use highly integrative approaches to study nociceptive functions at the molecular, neuronal, neural circuit and behavioral levels. To do so, we are primarily working with the Caenorhabditis elegans model organism, which offers many experimental tools ideally suited to carry out these multi-level analyses. Most of the genetic pathways that we have uncovered so far are conserved in human, so the proposed research is expected to have implications to develop new therapeutic approaches in pain management.
Training opportunities and place of work
The PhD student will learn and apply state-of-the-art techniques, such as optogenetics approaches to monitor and manipulate neural activity in vivo, high throughput genetic screens, high resolution microscopy, and computer-based analyses of behavior. The specific goals of the research project will be defined jointly with the successful candidate. The Department of Biology of the University of Fribourg (Switzerland) offers a stimulating and supportive environment, with a friendly atmosphere ideal to foster synergies. The selected PhD student will join the BENEFRI Neuroscience program, a joint PhD training program between the Universities of Bern and Fribourg. This high-quality education opportunity will complement the laboratory training to provide the PhD student with a very strong scientific profile.
Qualifications and timeline
We are seeking a highly motivated and curious person with an interest in neurobiology and genetics. Candidates must have a Master degree or equivalent in a relevant subject. Good communication skills, ability to work in a team, strong commitment to the research project, and proficiency in English are essential. Previous laboratory experience in our research area (neuroscience, genetics, molecular biology, cellular biology) or with the C. elegans model is strongly desired. Candidates lacking this specific background will be considered only if they have outstanding scientific qualifications and if they have already demonstrated their ability to successfully fit in new environments.
The position is available immediately or could start at a mutually agreed date. Recruitment will continue until the position is filled.
Selected references
1. Schild et al. The Balance between Cytoplasmic and Nuclear CaM Kinase-1 Signaling Controls the Operating Range of Noxious Heat Avoidance. Neuron 2014
2. Schild and Glauser. Dynamic switching between escape and avoidance regimes reduces C. elegans exposure to noxious heat. Nature Communications 2013
3. Glauser et al. Heat avoidance is regulated by transient receptor potential (TRP) channels and a neuropeptide signalling pathway in C. elegans . Genetics 2011

Contact detail

How to apply:
Applications must be addressed to Prof. Dominique Glauser (dom.glauser@gmail.com). The application package must be a single pdf file including:
(i)                a cover letter (max 1.5 page), explaining why the candidate is interested in the proposed research thematic and presenting two accomplishments that illustrate the candidate’s skills for research
(ii)              a CV, including a list of written publications and/or oral/poster presentations
(iii)             at least two reference letters, including valid phone numbers and e-mail addresses
Send application to
Applications must be addressed to Prof. Dominique Glauser (dom.glauser@gmail.com). 

Job profile

Working hours
Contract duration
Type of job
PhD Project
Work experience
job experience is not required
Switzerland (Freiburg)
Working place
1700 Fribourg
Area of expertise
Biology & Life Sciences