Postdoc Positions:


Application material:

Interested candidates should submit their application to a specified project including CV, 2 references, and a mission statement explaining how the conceptual and methodological background of the applicant matches the specified project. Candidates can maximally apply for 2 postitions simultaneusly.

How to apply:

Please send the application material to  mentioning the Job ID of the particular position.

Salary:  

Fully-funded Postdoc position as per German regulations (TVL-13)

Contract length:

2-4 years, depending on project.



In vivo imaging of cortical structural plasticity in chronic pain


Job ID: SFB1158postdoc_TK

Project leader: Thomas Kuner

Email:

Application Deadline:

31 December 2015

Start of the project:

at the earliest

Project description:

The cingulate cortex has been suggested to function as a major hub of circuits underlying chronic pain. Alternative to functional plasticity, activity-dependent adaptive changes of neuronal communication and network function can arise from structural plasticity. We hypothesise that structural plasticity is a strong candidate cellular mechanism for the expression of chronic pain in the cingulate cortex and that thalamocortical projections involving the cingulate cortex undergo critical structural remodelling in chronic pain states. We aim to transcend correlational analysis and address causal mechanisms.  

Own key publications:

  • Luo C., Gangadharan V., Bali K., Xie R.G., Agarwal N., Kurejova M., Tappe-Theodor A., Tegeder I., Feil S., Lewin G., Polgar E., Todd A.J., Schlossmann J., Hofmann F., Liu D.L., Hu S.J., Feil R., Kuner T., Kuner R. (2012). Presynaptically Localized Cyclic GMP-Dependent Protein Kinase 1 Is a Key Determinant of Spinal Synaptic Potentiation and Pain Hypersensitivity. PLoS Biol 10(3): e1001283. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1001283.
  • Luo, C., Kuner, T., & Kuner, R. (2014). Synaptic plasticity in pathological pain. Trends in Neurosciences, 37(6), 343–355. doi:10.1016/j.tins.2014.04.002
  • Körber, C., Horstmann, H., Venkatamarani, V., Herrmannsdörfer, Kremer, T., Kaiser, M., Schwenger, D.B., Ahmed, S., Dean, C., Dresbach, T. & Kuner, T. (2015). Modulation of Presynaptic Release Probability by the Vertebrate-Specific Protein Mover. Neuron 87, in press. 

Key words for methods that will be used:

In vivo two photon microscopy, chronic window implantation, viral molecular perturbations, cell type-specific expression, pain behavior, 3D image analysis

Desired profile of an applicant: 

Experience with fluorescence imaging methods, image analysis and animal surgery advantageous. Strong background in neuroscience required.  

 

hES/hiPS-derived sensory neurons - a new model system to study nociception


Job ID: SFB1158postdoc_JS

Project leader: Jan Siemens

Email:

Application Deadline:

31 December 2015

Start of the project:

at the earliest

Project description:

We are looking for a post-doctoral fellow with an interest in sensory neuroscience and expertise in electrophysiological recording techniques. 

We recently developed a protocol to generate sensory neurons from human embryonic stem (hES-) cells and hiPS cells. We now want to use this new model system to study sensory transduction, in particular mechano-nociception 

A second goal is to gain mechanistic insight into TRPV1 sensitization. We are particularly interested in identifying and characterizing mechanisms that inhibit and counteract sensitization of TRPV1.

Own key publications:

  • Nature Neuroscience, 2015; 18: 10-16
  • Cell, 2015; 160: 759-770

Key words for methods that will be used:

hESC cultures and differentiation, DRG cultures from mouse models, electrophysiology

Desired profile of an applicant:

Expertise in Electrophysiology

 

Visualization and functional interogation of cortico-limbic circuits in pain 


Job ID: SFB1158postdoc_RK

Project leader: Rohini Kuner

Email:

Application Deadline:

31 December 2015

Start of the project:

at the earliest

Project description:

The identity and importantly, potential specificity, of cortical circuits for pain-related functions as compared to functions unrelated to pain is not well-understood. Although human studies implicate a central role for several brain regions in mediating and modulating pain, functional contributions and underlying circuits have not been studied in vivo in detail. This proposal focuses on studying structure-function of cortico-cortical and cortico-limbic circuits in awake, behaving mice using in vivo techniques, such as optogenetics, for specifically manipulating neuronal activity and afferent function. Moreover, in vivo imaging and electrophysiology will be employed in mice to visualize and analyse cortical activity patterns.

Own key publications:

  • Vicuña L, Strochlic DE, Latremoliere A, Bali KK, Simonetti M, Husainie D, Prokosch S, Riva P, Griffin RS, Njoo C, Gehrig S, Mall MA, Arnold B, Devor M, Woolf CJ, Liberles SD, Costigan M, Kuner R. The serine protease inhibitor Serpin A3N attenuates neuropathic pain by inhibiting T cell-derived leukocyte elastase. Nat Med 21:518-23, 2015
  • Simonetti M, Agarwal N, Stösser S, Bali KK, Karaulanov E, Kamble R, Pospisilova B, Kurejova M, Birchmeier W, Niehrs C, Heppenstall P, Kuner R. Wnt-Fzd signaling sensitizes peripheral sensory neurons via distinct non-canonical pathways. Neuron 83:104-121, 2014
  • Simonetti M, Hagenston AM, Vardeh D, Freitag E, Mauceri D, Lu J, Satagopam VP, Schneider R, Costigan M, Bading H, Kuner R. Nuclear calcium signaling in spinal neurons drives a genomic program required for persistent inflammatory pain. Neuron 77, 43-57, 2013

Key words for methods that will be used:

Optogenetics in cortical slices as well as in mouse brain in vivo, behavioural assays in mice, in vivo electrophysiology, mapping circuits with viral vectors

Desired profile of an applicant:

Conversant in at least 2-3 of the above-mentioned methods, conceptually independent, command of brain circuits, aiming for high-profile publications, hard-working and perseverent, ability to write scientific papers, ability to represent the project at international meetings

 

Thalamic processing of pain and putative control by cortical feedback


Job ID: SFB1158postdoc_AG

Project leader: Alexander Groh

Email:

Application Deadline:

15 October 2015

Start of the project:

at the earliest

Project description:

The thalamocortical system is essential for the sensation of normal and abnormal pain. We found a new circuit mechanism that is effectively changing sensory processing in the thalamocortical system through neuronal feedback loops originating in the cortex. We are now testing how these feedback loops affect pain signaling with the goal to explore possible pain suppressing functions. We are looking for a postdoc who is interested to conduct this work at the interface between circuit neuroscience and clinical neuroscience.  

Own key publications:

  • Mease RA, Krieger P, Groh A (2014) Cortical control of adaptation and sensory relay mode in the thalamus. PNAS 
  • Groh A, Bokor H, Mease RA, Plattner VM, Hangya B, Stroh A, Deschenes M, Acsády L (2013) Convergence of Cortical and Sensory Driver Inputs on Single Thalamocortical Cells. Cerebral Cortex. 
  • Groh A, Meyer HS, Schmidt EF, Heintz N, Sakmann B, Krieger P (2010) Cell-type specific properties of pyramidal neurons in neocortex underlying a layout that is modifiable depending on the cortical area. Cerebral Cortex 

Key words for methods that will be used:

Electrophysiology, optogenetics, circuit analysis, virus mediated gene transfer, functional manipulations of rodent behaviors

Desired profile of an applicant:

Highly motivated applicants with a Ph.D. in neuroscience, life science or medicine who seek to do experimental work are encouraged to apply.  Experience in neurophysiological methods to obtain and interpret electrophysiological recordings in animal models is highly desirable.  Expertise in behavioral assays and in signal analysis and programming (Matlab) is a plus. The position is for two years with possible extension. 

 

Standardization and development of new pain-related models and methods in rodents


Job ID: SFB1158postdoc_ATT

Project leader: Anke Tappe-Theodor

Email:

Application Deadline:

31 December 2015

Start of the project:

at the earliest

Project description:

The primary focus of the project is to develop novel mouse models mimicking clinically-relevant chronic pain conditions, which are not modelled adequately. Amongst these is a model for chronic low back pain, considering comorbidity factors, such as stress. Additionally, cortical reorganization in chronic pain models will be studied in the project. Pain behaviour will be characterized using not only classical stimulus-evoked measures but also novel tests for spontaneous ongoing pain, which will be developed as a goal in the project. 

Own key publications:

  • Tappe A, Klugmann M, Luo C, Hirlinger D, Agarwal N, Benrath J, Ehrengruber MU, During MJ, Kuner R. Synaptic scaffolding protein Homer1a protects against chronic inflammatory pain. Nat med. 2006;12:677-681.
  • Tappe-Theodor A, Constantin CE, Tegeder I, Lechner SG, Langeslag M, Lepcynzsky P, Wirotanseng RI, Kurejova M, Agarwal N, Nagy G, Todd A, Wettschureck N, Offermanns S, Kress M, Lewin GR, Kuner R. G alpha q/11 signaling tonically modulates nociceptor function and contributes to activity-dependent sensitization. Pain. 2012;153:184-196. 
  • Tappe-Theodor A, Kuner R. Studying ongoing and spontaneous pain in rodents - challenges and opportunities. Eur J Neurosci. 2014;39:1881-90.

Key words for methods that will be used:

  • Chronic pain mouse models
  • Behavioral tests (stimulus-evoked, free-choice, spontaneous, voluntary behavior)
  • Stereotactic brain injections
  • Mouse surgeries
  • Retrograde tracing
  • Confocal microscopy

Desired profile of an applicant:

Applicants must have a Ph.D. and/or M.D. degree in neuroscience or related field. A strong background with the described key methods is a prerequisite together with a good publication record in this field.

 

On the role of silent nociceptors in inflammatory pain

Job ID: SFB1158postdoc_SL

Project leader:  Dr. Stefan Lechner

Email:

 

Application Deadline:

31 December 2015

Start of the project:

at the earliest

Project description:

In addition to mechano-nociceptors and polymodal nociceptors, the somatosensory nervous system also comprises a significant proportion of fibers that are insensitive to mechanical stimuli under normal conditions, but become sensitized to mechanical stimuli during inflammation. In humans, these so-called ‘silent’ nociceptors were shown to contribute to primary mechanical hyperalgesia and to induce central sensitization. This project aims at identifying the molecular and cellular identity of silent nociceptors and at deciphering the central and peripheral mechanisms underlying the sensitization of these neurons.

 

Own key publications: 

  • Schrenk-Siemens, K. et al, Nat. Neurosci. 18, 10–16 (2015)
  • Heidenreich, M. et al, Nat Neurosci 15, 138–145. (2012)
  • Lechner, S.G. et al, Neuron 69, 332–344. (2011)

Key words for methods that will be used: 

Patch-clamp (spinal cord slices & primary cultures), optogenetics, pain behavior, DREADDs

 

Desired profile of an applicant:

The ideal candidate holds a PhD in Neuroscience or a related discipline and has extensive experience with electrophysiological recording techniques both in slice preparations and primary cultures. Additional experience in the field of pain research would be an asset.

 

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