Predoctoral Position in Neuropeptidergic Plasticity of Evolutionarily Conserved Signaling Systems
Catholic University of Leuven

Our laboratory researches a variety of fundamental questions using invertebrate (model) organisms - mainly C. elegans. This project is situated in a collaborative project of three teams, in which we combine shared interests in neuronal plasticity, ageing and their regulation by neuropeptidergic signaling. Several other lab members are involved in different aspects of this project or work on related topics. See also: ; ;


Neuropeptides are small regulatory proteins that play an essential role as signaling molecules in the nervous system and are therefore involved in the regulation of nearly all biological processes. Our team is global leader in neuropeptidomics, which we apply to study neuropeptide signaling and functions in the nervous system. Our current research interest goes out to understanding the role of neuropeptide pathways in the regulation of learning with age.

We mainly use the nematode C. elegans, which shares many neuropeptide signaling systems with other animals, including humans, as a genetic model system to unravel the function of conserved neuropeptides in learning and ageing. We are looking for a PhD candidate interested in studying neuropeptidergic plasticity starting from phylogenetic analyses and single-cell resolution expression data. This strategy will help you unravel fundamental principles of neuropeptidergic signaling in animals, as well as their functional and behavioral implications, here focused on short-term (learning) and long-term (aging) plasticity.
You will be required to independently tackle several issues, whilst keeping up to date with a highly dynamic research field. This project offers the opportunities to perform fundamental molecular biological research while learning to master a multitude of skills and technologies including bioinformatics (evolutionary comparisons, extensive analysis of several types of omics data), molecular biology, genetic manipulation of C. elegans, behavioral plasticity assays, semi-automated acquisition of ageing data, and confocal microscopy for cell identifications.


A Master degree in Biology, Biochemistry, Chemistry, Biomedical Sciences, Biophysics, Bio-Engineering, Bioinformatics, Pharmaceutical Sciences or equivalent (obtained prior to 30/9/2021) is a must.

Applicants must als have a competitive profile to apply for a PhD fellowship with regional and/or international granting agencies.
In addition, you:
  • are an autonomous, yet sociable colleague
  • are a creative problem-solver
  • can clearly communicate your research (results) to other lab members and research partners
  • have excellent research skills (for a Master level researcher) and a strong interest in biochemical and molecular biological methods
  • are proficient in English
  • are willing to supervise Bachelor and Master students
  • have (an interest in learning) basic bioinformatics and statistical analysis skills
  • are generally curious and willing to learn
  • have a sense of responsibility and are able to take initiative to improve research
  • work results-oriented, i.e. you have the focus and abilities to work towards publishable units of scientific information


We offer a full-time predoctoral position at the Division of Animal Physiology and Neurobiology in the Biology Department of KU Leuven (Belgium) under the supervision of Prof. Liesbet Temmerman (Molecular and Functional Neurobiology group) and co-supervision of Prof. Isabel Beets (Neural Signaling and Circuit Plasticity group). You will work in a stimulating research environment and contribute to the team spirit of our research groups consisting of several postdocs and PhD students.

The initial 1-year contract includes an intended extension to fund a 4-year PhD project. For this, good evaluation upon competitive fellowship applications (FWO ranking or good score for relevant others, if applicable, irrespective of the actual outcome) is a prerequisite.
The salary will be in accordance with the University salary scales for doctoral researchers.
KU Leuven is one of Europe's top universities and is located in the vibrant city of Leuven, which has a strong international appeal. For more information on the University of Leuven, visit

Envisaged start date to be agreed upon within the April-Nov 2021 bracket.


For more information please contact Prof. dr. Liesbet Temmerman, tel.: +32 16 37 36 89, mail: or Prof. dr. Isabel Beets, tel.: +32 16 37 36 97, mail:

You can apply for this job no later than May 10, 2021 via the
KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at
  • Employment percentage: Voltijds
  • Location: Leuven
  • Apply before: May 10, 2021
  • Tags: Biologie

If you apply for this position please say you saw it on Bioloxy


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