The German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) is a unique non-university research center which is dedicated to the subject dementia and all its areas, as well as other neurodegenerative diseases. The center compasses the full spectrum of fundamental research through population sciences to health care research. The DZNE stands for excellence in research and science management, translation of scientific results into practice, interdisciplinarity and internationalization. It is a research center within the Helmholtz Organization of German research centers. With over 1000 employees from 55 nations, spread over 10 sites, the DZNE is one of the national and international leading research centers in its research field. 

PhD student (f/m/d) on grid cell coding in old age

Code: 4034/2019/3

This position will be based in the Aging & Cognition Research group (, which seeks (i) to understand fundamental mechanisms of cognitive aging under naturalistic conditions, (ii) to establish novel clinical assessment tools, and (iii) to develop interventions that help maintain people’s independence. In this project, we will investigate how human ageing affects computations in the entorhinal grid cell system, using a unique combination of advanced virtual reality and cutting-edge neuroscience tools.

Who we are and what we do

Research focus: Cognitive Neuroscience research on spatial navigation, aging and dementia

Team: International and interdisciplinary research team, including cognitive scientists, psychologists, biologists and physicists

Environment: Research dedicated 3T and 7T MRI scanners, cutting-edge virtual reality facilities, mobile EEG, MEG, TMS and eye tracking systems

Active local network of neuroscience PhD students and Postdocs

Your tasks


  • With a combination of interactive VR technology and ultra-high field (7T) neuroimaging, you will characterize how human aging affects spatial coding in the grid cell circuit
  • Conduct neuroimaging experiments and use computational models to test novel predictions for grid cell coding in humans
  • If desired, be involved in teaching activities



  • BSc/MSc in psychology, cognitive neuroscience, neuroimaging methods or applied statistics                       
  • Broad statistical knowledge and programming experience (i.e. Python, R, Matlab)
    will be a plus
  • Strong interest in cognitive aging and computational modelling
  • Fluent in English
  • Reliability, flexibility, passion

We offer

  • An interesting and challenging task in a research center that works on the future topics of health research
  • An international environment characterized by a strong focus on science and research
  • A high potential for the individual development of our employees
  • Targeted personnel development
  • Starting date: October 2019 or later
  • Employment, payment and social benefits are determined by the Public Sector Collective Agreement (Tarifvertrag für den öffentlichen Dienst – TVöD Bund)

For further information about this unique opportunity, please contact Thomas Wolbers and visit our website





Contact details

Prof. Dr. Thomas Wolbers

Working hours


Contract length

2 years

Payment, social benefits

consistent with those at other research institutes

Application deadline


You will obtain special skills and knowledge for your scientific qualification during your activities at DZNE. The DZNE is an equal opportunity employer. It is committed to employing disabled individuals and especially encourages them to apply.