Postdoctoral Position in Synaptic & Circuit Mechanisms Underlying Sleep

Leuven VIB-KU Leuven Center for Brain & Disease Research

29 Sep 2017


VIB-KU Leuven Center for Brain & Disease Research

Sha Liu Lab




The Laboratory of Sleep and Synaptic Plasticity (PI: Sha Liu) at the VIB-KU Leuven Center for Brain & Disease Research is seeking multiple energetic, highly motivated postdoctoral scientists to join our group. Our lab employs multi-disciplinary approaches, including Drosophila genetics, quantitative behavior analysis, electrophysiology, functional imaging, and neural circuit mapping and manipulation, to study the basic mechanisms underlying sleep and its function in the brain. The lab has been awarded with an ERC Starting Grant recently.

Current areas of interest include the roles of sleep in synaptic and network plasticity, and the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying these sleep-dependent processes.  In addition, our lab is also interested in developing novel tools for precisely dissecting the neuronal and glial components of the fly brain. These tools will facilitate our own research in sleep, but we also intend for them to be more generally useful to the neuroscience community. The postdocs will also have considerable freedom to develop their own projects in line with lab interests. 

Key Publications:

Liu, S.*, Lamaze, A.*, Liu, Q., Tabuchi, M., Yang, Y., Fowler, M., Bharadwaj, R., Zhang, J., Bedont, J., Blackshaw, S., Lloyd, T.E., Montell, C., Sehgal, A., Koh, K.*, and Wu, M.N.* (2014).  WIDE AWAKE Mediates the Circadian Timing of Sleep Onset.  Neuron 82, 151-166.

Liu, S.*, Liu, Q.*, Tabuchi, M., and Wu, M.N. (2016). Sleep Drive is Encoded by Neural Plastic Changes in a Dedicated Circuit. Cell 165, 1347-1360.  (Previewed in Cell) (Recommended by Faculty of 1000).

Liu, Q.*, Tabuchi, M.*, Liu, S., Kodama, L., Horiuchi, W., Daniels, J., Chiu, L., Baldoni, D., and Wu, M.N. (2017). Branch-Specific Plasticity of a Bifunctional Dopamine Circuit Encodes Protein Hunger.  Science 356, 534-539.


  • Ideal candidates should be ambitious, self-motivated, hardworking, and willing to develop new skills and explore novel ideas.
  • A background in neuroscience, bioengineering, and/or systems biology is preferred.
  • A strong background in in vivo functional imaging, electrophysiology, and/or quantitative behavior analysis is highly desirable.
  • Previous research experience with Drosophila or other insect species is beneficial but not required.

We offer

  • Excellent training in both technical and academic career skills.
  • An opportunity to investigate exciting and important questions related to sleep in a genetically defined and tractable model system.
  • The postdoc will work in a creative and collaborative environment with access to state-of-the-art equipment in the institute (including light-sheet microscopy and block-face scanning EM, etc).
  • Competitive salary and benefits (with relocation support for international applicants). In addition, the successful candidate is also encouraged to obtain independent fellowships (Marie-Curie, EMBO, or National funding organizations).

How to apply?

Your online application file should contain the following documents: 

  • a cover letter describing previous research experience and career goals
  • a detailed CV
  • contact information for 3 references