Careers at UMC Utrecht
Vacancy number: 2021/01031
Apply to: August 9 2021
Education: University
Employment: Temporary position
Full-time/Part-time: 36 - 36 hours

scRNAseq has revealed the enormous variety of brain cell types. A major challenge is to unravel the function of specific cell types and their role in brain disease. In this project we take a bioinformatics approach to identify cells underlying brain disease (with a focus on eating disorders), target them with viral vectors and unravel their function using chemogenetics. As the successful candidate for this position, you will be working on your own project, supported by technicians and surrounded by a team of PhD students and postdocs who are working with similar and related technologies. The objectives of this project are to identify and target neurons that are enriched in genetic signals associated with eating disorders. To this end you will utilize a combination of experimental techniques, ranging from identifying the cells using bioinformatics and scRNAseq, to targeting these neurons for chemogenetic control.

You will collaborate with other bioinformaticians to use GWAS data from eating disorders and related traits and use existing scRNAseq data (that are also generated in our lab) to select canididate cells to target with viral vectors (AAV) that we generate ourselves. We will utilize knowledge of the transcriptional machinery of the cells that need to be targeted to build an articifial promoter that selectively targets the candidate cells. This then allows us to record (using fiber photometry) and manipulate (using chemogenetics) these cells while rodents are exposed to models of eating disorders.


The Department of Translational Neuroscience is the preclinical department of the Brain Division at the University Medical Center Utrecht. The Department’s research mission is to discover and delineate mechanisms and processes fundamental to the development of neural systems and to the control of behavior, and to translate these to pathogenesis and disease models. The Department has the unique advantage of being embedded in the clinical environment of UMCU and having a multidisciplinary character. Its toolkit includes lightsheet microscopy, optogenetics, electrophysiology, and scRNAseq, its own animal facility, viral vector generation and more. The research group run by Roger Adan studies the neural circuits involved in eating disorders with a focus on reward processing. scRNAseq, chemogenetics and fiber photometry are the main technologies that are currently used by the Adan lab.


As a candidate suitable for this position, you are a molecular biologist with experience in bioinformatics (preferably scRNAseq pipelines, GWAS, regulome analysis) and your communicative skills are strong. You must be able to demonstrate an affinity for the study of neural circuits and be interested in working with mice. Valued qualities include an interest in translational research and the ambition to further develop yourself as a molecular neuroscientist. You have experience with programming (Python, R) and bioinformatic analysis and molecular biology and have an allowance to work with rodents. You will be required to work in a team in a collaborative manner and help guide other members in the team.

This is a function for 24 months (in the course of the project we will search and support you in finding additional funding to extent the contract)

We believe in the power of a diverse team in which there is room for different skills, expertise, and social and cultural backgrounds. We invite you to respond to this vacancy.

The maximum salary for this position (36 - 36 hours) is € 4.615,00 gross per month based on full-time employment.

In addition, we offer an annual benefit of 8.3%, holiday allowance, travel expenses and career opportunities. The terms of employment are in accordance with the Cao University Medical Centers (UMC).

More information

If you have any questions about this vacancy, please contact Roger Adan, Hoogleraar, phone number: 088 75 685 17, e‑mail adress:

Acquisition based on this jobopening is not appreciated.


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