Postdoc position to study the development of the neural circuits of hunting

Leuven Neuro-Electronics Research Flanders (NERF)

12 Oct 2021


Neuro-Electronics Research Flanders (NERF)

Karl Farrow Lab



Postdoc position in The Neural Circuits of Vision Laboratory at Neuro-Electronics Research Flanders in Leuven, Belgium, (NERF | Farrow Lab) to study the development of the neural circuits of hunting.


Together with Jennifer Hoy at the University of Nevada, Reno (Hoy Lab) We are investigating the development of the neural circuits that guide hunting behaviors in mice. In the wild mice hunt insects as a source of food. Dr. Hoy has been instrumental in demonstrating the important role defined cell types in superior colliculus make to prey capture behaviors. Together we are attempting to determine how the circuits of the early visual system develop to enable this critical behavior.

We seek a creative postdoctoral scholar to study the neural circuits of the early visual system during development with a focus on their role in hunting and approach behaviors. The project builds on foundational work by Jennifer Hoy (Hoy et al., 2016 and 2019) and large-scale circuit tracing and brain recordings (Neuropixels and fUSI) being carried out in the Lab of Karl Farrow (Reinhard et al, 2019; Sans-Dublanc et al., 2021). The goal is to delineate how the circuits of the superior colliculus develop to detect prey and trigger approach and attack behaviors in mice. The project will involve behavioral assays, rabies-based circuit tracing, and large-scale recordings using Neuropixels and/or functional ultrasound imaging (fUSI).

This position is endowed with a high level of independence. The fellow will join a collaborative group focused on innate and acquired visual behaviors, both at NERF (Leuven, Belgium), and at the University of Nevada (Reno, Nevada, USA). The main position is at NERF, with the possibility for research stays at the University of Nevada. Postdoctoral fellows in the lab are expected to lead their projects and work closely with students, contributing to both methodological and conceptual insights. Fellows have ample opportunities to interact with partner labs at NERF, VIB, and KU Leuven. Career advancement activities such as presentations at international scientific events, writing of funding proposals, and organization of workshops are strongly encouraged.


Interested candidates with a Ph.D. (or expected Ph.D.) in neuroscience or a relevant field with an excellent research track record, strong technical and data analytical skills, and the ability to run projects are encouraged to apply. Prior experience with mice or in vivo electrophysiology, imaging, or optogenetics is an advantage but not a requirement. Candidates with expertise in quantitative analysis of behavior, or data science and an interest in experimental neuroscience are encouraged to apply.

We offer

Opportunity to do cutting-edge science in a supportive and collaborative team. The candidate will join the vibrant community of postdocs at NERF and VIB – KU Leuven Center for Brain & Disease Research. The lab has a strong multidisciplinary team with expertise in the retina, superior colliculus, large-scale and cellular resolution optical and electrical recordings, and is known for its open and collegial atmosphere.

State-of-the-art tools and facilities: The laboratory is equipped with dedicated surgical, behavioral, and viral vector facilities, setups for multiphoton microscopy, high-density Neuropixels recordings, and functional ultrasound imaging (fUSI). Proximity to exciting research institutes at the heart of Europe. NERF is within walking distance of KU Leuven on the campus of imec, a world leader in nanoelectronics research. Leuven is a short train ride away from Brussels at the heart of Europe. This is a fully-funded position. The position is for an initial 1-year term with the possibility of up to 3-year reappointment.

How to apply?

Submit your application through the VIB online application tool: 

The application package should include:

  • a CV with a complete publication list (including preprints and manuscripts in preparation),
  • the names and contact information of 2-3 referees,
  • a motivation letter and research statement specifying career goals and research interests.

For information and questions, contact,