PhD position to investigate mechanisms of neurodegeneration in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

Leuven VIB-KU Leuven Center for Brain & Disease Research

20 Aug 2019


VIB-KU Leuven Center for Brain & Disease Research

Sandrine Da Cruz Lab



About the lab

The VIB-KU Leuven Center for Brain & Disease Research is part of the VIB Life Sciences Institute and is embedded within the University of Leuven, which ranks among the world’s top 50 universities. At our Center, researchers study the cellular mechanisms of health and disease in the central nervous system.

Dr. Sandrine Da Cruz, an established researcher in the field of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), is starting up a new lab as of the 1st October 2019 within the VIB-KU Leuven Center for Brain & Disease Research. This new research group will focus on investigating disease mechanisms and novel therapeutic approaches for devastating neurological disorders including ALS and frontotemporal dementia (FTD), the second most common dementia after Alzheimer’s disease.

Job description

We are seeking a highly motivated candidate with interest in neurodegeneration to investigate the molecular mechanisms underlying the degeneration of axons and neuromuscular junctions in ALS. Elucidating these mechanisms is critical to our understanding of the disorder and key to the development of novel therapeutic approaches.

The research project, under supervision of principal investigator Sandrine Da Cruz will focus on elucidating the role of axonal local translation in neuronal homeostasis and neurodegeneration. You will use a combination of advanced molecular and cellular techniques, as well as sophisticated mouse models previously established in Da Cruz lab (Lopez-Erauskin et al., Neuron, 2018) to unravel the yet poorly understood contribution of local translation to neuronal homeostasis and degeneration in mature mammalian axons.



The successful candidate should:

  • hold a Master degree in biology, life sciences or a related discipline. Distinction based on study results or professional realizations is required.
  • have some laboratory experience and be ready to learn new molecular and cellular biology techniques
  • enjoy working in a multidisciplinary and multicultural scientific environment
  • be ready to learn how to undertake independent research projects under supervision
  • be comfortable with performing studies on laboratory mice
  • be fluent in both spoken and written English (proven knowledge of English is required, TOEFL test)
  • Please note that you should be eligible to obtain a personal fellowship with the FWO.

Desirable but not required

  • Experience in research on neurodegeneration or cell biology is a plus.

We offer

  • The initial appointment is for one year and with possibility for extension. The successful applicant will be strongly encouraged to apply for external funding and fellowships.
  • An interdisciplinary environment with access to state-of-the-art technologies.
  • PhD students will get intensive and personalized supervision and will have access to an extensive scientific and transferable skills training programs available through VIB and KU Leuven.
  • The position is available from November 1st, 2019.

How to apply?

Please use the VIB HR Application tool

Additional required information:

  • detailed CV
  • motivation letter describing your research interests and previous research experience
  • names and contact information of 3 references

For more information: please contact Sandrine Da Cruz via email

Info about lab and the center: