Researcher in Animal Physiology and Neurobiology
Catholic University of Leuven Animal Physiology and Neurobiology



Employment percentage: Full-time
Location: Leuven
Animal Physiology and Neurobiology
Apply before: Sunday, June 30, 2019
Tags: Biology 


(ref. BAP-2019-297)

Last modification : Wednesday, May 15, 2019

The NCDR has a strong interest in defining cellular/molecular mechanisms underlying neurodegeneration, neuroinflammation and regeneration in the eye/visual system of teleost fish and rodents (for more info see: The quest for neuroprotective and/or regenerative therapies to tackle neurodegenerative disorders and central nervous system (CNS) trauma continues to be a central theme in our research. Despite intensive research efforts, induction of regeneration and subsequent functional recovery of the injured mammalian CNS remains a challenge, which makes the search for new pro-regenerative molecules essential, especially in an aging environment. In contrast to mammals, teleost fish have a remarkable neurogenic and regenerative potential in their adult CNS, already making them a preferred model organism in a myriad of comparative studies investigating the underlying mechanisms of successful regeneration. Moreover, over the past decade, several teleost species, such as the zebrafish (Danio rerio) and the African turquoise killifish (Nothobranchius furzeri), have been exploited in gerontology research. They are ideally suited to study the contribution of intrinsic and extrinsic molecular players to successful regeneration, also in an aging context. Besides a special interest in defining the role of neuroinflammatory processes in axon regeneration, we study an essential component of the neuronal circuitry overlooked for decades: the dendrites. Based on recent intriguing findings (Beckers et al. Mol Neurobiol. 2019;56(5):3175-3192), we hypothesize an antagonistic interplay between dendritic remodeling and axon outgrowth in the damaged fish CNS and are pursuing energy channeling as an underlying mechanism. To tackle our research questions, we use a multidisciplinary approach in which advanced in vivo ocular imaging technologies and visual function tests (optomotor, Y-maze visual acuity) are being combined with detailed morphological phenotyping using optical clearing, confocal & multiphoton microscopy, and post-mortem histological analyses to follow inflammatory, de- and regenerative processes. Besides, ex vivo/in vitro retinal tissue/cell cultures and state-of-the-art (single cell) multi-omics approaches are available to study the cellular/molecular pathways underlying neuroprotection/regeneration. All research runs within the recently established ‘Vision Core Leuven’, a preclinical animal platform which brings together cutting-edge technologies within the field of ocular imaging, electrophysiology and visual function testing in laboratory animals (see: Within the aforementioned research lines, we are looking for a motivated post-doc willing to supervise the fish-related research.



  • You will have the opportunity to shape and lead teleost fish regeneration projects in two broad areas: in the first we are working to investigate the effect of aging and inflammaging on regenerative capacities, while in the second, we are interested in defining the role of dendrites in axonal regeneration. 

  • You will be in charge and spearheading this exciting and state-of-the-art research projects, but must also have good communication skills and be willing to work as part of a research team. .

  • You will guide students (undergraduate and graduate level) and contribute to writing papers, grant proposals and reports. You will report on your research at national and international meetings. You will contribute to the organization of local and international conferences.




  • You have a PhD degree in Biology, Biochemistry, Bio-engineering, Biophysics, Biomedical Sciences or equivalent, and a proven and successful track record, preferentially with experience in teleost fish biology.
  • You are passionate and motivated to work on ambitious projects in an open, dynamic and scientifically advanced team and not afraid to pioneer or set up novel technologies.
  • You can organise and troubleshoot practical work independently, document it and communicate results and experiences with the team in a collaborative and professional manner.
  • You have good knowledge of the English language, both spoken and written.
  • You have a strong interest in neurobiology – ophthalmology.  


               -  Basic knowledge of molecular biology, (immuno)histochemistry and microscopy is required

               - Profound hands-on experience with in vivo experiments in (zebra/killi)fish is required

               - Hands-on experience with in in vitro tissue/cell cultures or microfluidic approaches is an asset

               - Hands-on experience with 2-photon imaging and image analysis software is an asset

               - Hands-on experience with omics analyses and any expertise in bioinformatics or statistical modeling is an asset.



We offer:

  •  An exciting working environment where quality, professionalism and human contacts are paramount.
  • The opportunity to be part of a dynamic team and provide a meaningful contribution to the identification of molecular targets to enhance regenerative growth and reconnection, applicable to neurodegenerative diseases and promoting neural repair.


Financing is available, preferably also with later application for a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Individual Fellowship, Belgian FWO post-doctoral fellowship or equivalent.


KU Leuven, located in a vibrant student town in Flanders, Belgium, 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




For more information please contact Prof. dr. Lieve Moons, tel.: +32 16 32 39 91, mail: or Mrs. Lies De Groef, tel.: +32 16 37 37 64, mail:

Applicants should submit a detailed Curriculum Vitae, a concise letter of motivationand two reference letters to their online application.



You can apply for this job no later than June 30, 2019 via the online application tool


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

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


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