Postdoctoral Scientist to Study the Basic Mechanisms Underlying Sleep and its Function in the Brain

Leuven VIB-KU Leuven Center for Brain & Disease Research

01 Jun 2017


VIB-KU Leuven Center for Brain & Disease Research



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

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 postdoc will also have considerable freedom to develop his/her own projects in line with lab interests, in consultation with the PI.

Key Publications:

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, 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.


  • Ideal candidates should be ambitious, self-motivated, hardworking, and willing to develop new skills. 
  • A background in neuroscience, bioengineering, biophysics, and/or systems biology is preferred.
  • A strong background in patch clamp electrophysiology and/or in vivo functional imaging is highly desirable.
  • Previous research experience with Drosophila or other insect species is beneficial but not required.
  • Successful candidates will work both independently and as part of a team.

We offer

  • Excellent training. 
  • An opportunity to study exciting and important questions related to sleep in a genetically defined and tractable model system.
  • 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).
  • The position is available starting from September 1st, 2017.

How to apply?

Additional required information:

  • Cover letter describing previous research experience and career goals.
  • Names and contact information of 3 references

For more information, please contact the PI: