PhD Research Fellow in Neuroscience

2 days left

Trondheim, Norway
06 Mar 2018
End of advertisement period
20 Mar 2018
Contract Type
Full Time

A temporary, 3-year, full-time (100%) PhD position is open for an outstanding candidate to investigate morphology-activity relationships underlying motor neuron vulnerability in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The candidate is expected to start in July 2018.

Institute and research group

The PhD position is linked to the Department of Neuromedicine and Movement Science (INB). The Department conducts research and education covering a wide range of areas related to the nervous system, sense organs, the head, and motion control and movement. The department includes the disciplines of Adult psychiatry, Clinical pharmacology, Clinical neurophysiology, Eye diseases, Geriatrics, Human movement science, Internal medicine- stroke, Laboratories, Neurology, Neurosurgery, Oral and maxillofacial diseases, Orthopaedic surgery, Otolaryngology (ear, nose and throat), Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Radiology, Rheumatology. For more information about the department, see

The Sandvig group

The PhD position is available in the Sandvig group, under the supervision of Dr Ioanna Sandvig. The main research interest in our lab is the study and elucidation of axonal and synaptic plasticity in the context of CNS function, damage, and repair. Ongoing research activities thus focus on CNS disease modelling through the application of advanced interdisciplinary methods and principles. These include morphogenetic neuroengineering, electrophysiology, neural computation, in vitro, in vivo, and in silico models, to elucidate, predict, and modify morphology-activity relationships underlying normal and perturbed neural network function. The ultimate goal of this research is to identify which aspects of complex neural network dynamics and at which level/scale are relevant for functional restoration in the lesioned CNS, with special focus on locomotor function. A corollary of this is how emerging neurotechnologies may constitute part of new treatment and rehabilitation paradigms to induce and/or harness neural network plasticity, with a view to future clinical translation.

Our laboratory consists of an international team of enthusiastic neurobiologists, psychologists, bioengineers, and clinicians. We collaborate with a number of inter- and crossdisciplinary research teams including the Department of Computer Science, NTNU, the Department of Molecular Medicine, NTNU, the Kavli Institute of Neuroscience, Centre for Neural Computation, NTNU, and Oslo Metropolitan University.

Project description

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder leading to severe dysfunction of motor neurons (MNs) and, inevitably, to death approximately 3-5 years after onset in most cases. It is the most common disorder amongst the group of motor neuron diseases, yet its specific aetiology is poorly understood. The disease characteristically involves a recognised pattern of selective neuropathy primarily affecting upper and lower MNs, i.e. MNs in the motor cortex, brainstem and spinal cord, and resulting in gradual paralysis and, ultimately, fatal respiratory failure.

A highly promising perspective towards a better understanding of ALS is the application of advanced in vitro and in silico modelling tools for the study of healthy and diseased neurons at the network level. The project thus aims to integrate cutting-edge morphogenetic neuroengineering and computational tools in an advanced modelling platform for the study and elucidation of key dynamics of ALS disease progression at the neural network level. Specifically, we aim to identify and extract key features of functional connectomes in motor neuron ensembles underlying the selective vulnerability of such networks to ALS-related pathology.


We are looking for a highly-motivated, enthusiastic, talented, creative scientist with a strong commitment to research. A strong theoretical and practical background in neurobiology and/or (neuro)computation, with special focus on plasticity, is recommended.


  • Master’s degree in Neuroscience, Neurobiology, or Computational Science
  • A strong academic record with a weighted average grade of master’s education of B or higher, in accordance with NTNU’s grading system
  • Research experience in molecular neurobiology and/or cell biology, or computational modelling
  • Technical skills including: Matlab programming; aseptic techniques; immunocytochemistry and/or immunohistochemistry; microscopy and image acquisition and analysis; in vitro and/or in vivo electrophysiology
  • Proficiency in spoken and written English
  • Strong motivation for the position, and proven ability to work independently as well as in a scientific team

Emphasis will be placed on

  • Excellent communication skills, oral and written
  • Ability to work and/or collaborate with inter- and cross disciplinary research environments

We offer

  • Challenging and exciting work with access to state-of-the-art and emerging technologies
  • A good working environment
  • Excellent opportunities for scientific and personal development through active collaborations with inter-and cross-disciplinary research environments at NTNU, nationally and abroad
  • Affiliation to the Norwegian Research School in Neuroscience
  • Good pension, insurance and loan schemes through the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund

Depending on qualifications and academic background, PhD Candidates (in code 1017) at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences will be remunerated at a minimum of NOK 436 500 per year before tax. Normal wage level is NOK 436 500 - 482 100 of which 2% is deducted for the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund.

The appointment will be made in accordance with current regulations and supplementary rules with guidelines for employment as PhD Candidate appointments at universities and university colleges.

Candidates from universities outside Norway are kindly requested to send a Diploma Supplement or a similar document, which describes in detail the study and grade system and the rights for further studies associated with the obtained degree:

Candidates from non-English speaking countries outside the Nordic countries should provide official documentation of their English competence. Approved tests are TOEFL, IELTS and Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE) or Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE). The following results are required: TOEFL: 600 / writing 4.5 (paper-based test), 92 / writing 22 (internet- based test) IELTS: 6.5, with no section lower than 5.5 (only Academic IELTS test accepted) CAE/CPE: grade B or A.

NTNU is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes applicants from both EU/EEA and non-EU countries. The university is strongly committed to diversity within its community and welcomes applications from members of ethnic minorities.

A good work environment is characterized by diversity. We encourage qualified candidates to apply, regardless of their gender, functional capacity or cultural background. If necessary, we will adapt the workplace for people with disabilities.

More information regarding moving to Trondheim, Norway and working at NTNU:

How to apply

The candidate’s motivation, skills and personal qualifications for the position and project should be described in a short application letter. The application should contain the following attachments:

  • Applicants’ CV (including list of publications and relevant former positions) and copy of relevant transcripts and diplomas.
  • Short statement from a former supervisor/tutor/teacher.
  • Contact information for two references (including email addresses and telephone number)
  • For applicants from non-English speaking countries: documentation of English competence (see section above)
  • Other relevant information/attachments.

Chosen applicants will be invited to an interview.

Applications are to be submitted electronically via this page within the deadline of 20.03.2018. Any applications submitted directly/via email to the relevant contact persons will not be considered.

For further information about the position, contact:

Researcher Ioanna Sandvig, e-mail:

For further information about the application process, contact:

HR Adviser Marta Aandahl, Telephone +47 90553511 or e-mail:

HR Adviser Vebjørn Andreassen, Telephone + 47 73412577 or e-mail:

Please note that under the Norwegian Civil Service Act, information about applicants may be made public even though the applicant has requested not to be included on the list of applicants.

About this job

  • Deadline Tuesday, March 20, 2018
  • Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
  • Website
  • Municipality Trondheim
  • Jobbnorge ID 149052
  • Internal ID 2018/6857
  • Scope Fulltime
  • Duration Engagement

About applications

  • Applications on this job are registered in an electronic form on
  • You must complete: Standard CV
  • Please refer to where you first saw this job advertised!

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