Postdoc position: Molecular mechanisms of synapse diversity in hippocampal circuits

Leuven VIB-KU Leuven Center for Brain & Disease Research

03 Mar 2020


VIB-KU Leuven Center for Brain & Disease Research

Joris de Wit Lab



About the lab

The De Wit lab (Laboratory of Synapse Biology) at the VIB-KU Leuven Center for Brain & Disease Research, Belgium, is seeking a highly motivated postdoctoral fellow to study molecular mechanisms of synaptic diversity in developing hippocampal circuits. 

About the project

A key question in the development of precise neural connectivity is how an axon from the same neuron can make different types of synapses depending on the target cell it is contacting. Such diversity of a neuron’s output synapses can be found across neural circuits. Hippocampal granule cell axons for example form at least three structurally and functionally distinct types of synapses. This diversity of synaptic terminals is essential for proper circuit function, but the underlying molecular mechanisms that determine synapse properties in a target-specific manner are essentially unknown.

Your job

The main goal of our laboratory is to unravel the molecular mechanisms that control precise synaptic connectivity in developing circuits and determine how perturbations in this process affect circuit function (see references below). You will use innovative transcriptomics and proteomics approaches, genome engineering, viral vectors and state-of-the-art imaging to investigate the molecular mechanisms of synapse diversity in the hippocampus. The role of identified candidate genes will be tested in vivo, using conditional mouse genetics and viral vector approaches combined with (ultra)structural and functional analysis of synaptic connectivity and circuit function.

Selected references:

  • Apóstolo et al. BioRxiv
  • Ribeiro et al. PLOS Biology (2019). 17(10)
  • Rice et al. Science (2019). 363(6423)
  • Condomitti et al. Neuron (2018). 100:201-215
  • Schroeder et al. Neuron (2018). 99:329-344


We are seeking a highly motivated, enthusiastic, critical and creative individual to join our team. The candidate should have a strong interest in synapse biology and developmental neurobiology.


  • PhD in neurobiology (molecular, cellular, developmental, systems) or related disciplines
  • A solid publication record with first-author research publication(s) in peer-reviewed international journals
  • Team player

Desirable but not required

  • Prior experience with mouse neurobiology and molecular biology
  • Prior experience with proteomics or transcriptomics

We offer

  • A versatile and challenging job in a vibrant, world-class research environment operating at an international level
  • State of the art research facilities
  • A dedicated training program to broaden your expertise and enhance your skill set
  • A competitive compensation package based on expertise and experience
  • Financial support for at least 2 years. The successful candidate is encouraged to obtain a personal fellowship (Marie-Curie, HFSP, EMBO, or national funding organizations)

Starting Date: as soon as possible

How to apply?

For more information contact Please complete the online application procedure and include a motivation letter, a detailed CV incl. list of publications, and the contact information of three referees.