The German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) is a world-leading internationally oriented research center, committed to discovering new approaches to prevent and treat neurodegenerative diseases. To this end, researchers at ten DZNE sites across Germany pursue a translational and interdisciplinary strategy comprising five interconnected areas: fundamental research, clinical research, health care research, population health science, and systems medicine.

PhD studentship (f/m/d) – Large-scale electrophysiological methods for deciphering activity-dependent plasticity

Code: 8027/2020/8

The laboratory of plasticity models for aging and neurodegeneration offers a PhD position for an outstanding candidate to study the activity-dependent plasticity changes (from circuits to network) in large-scale neurogenic models. The research will be carried out at the German center for neurodegenerative diseases (DZNE) in Dresden, Germany. The primary objective of our lab is to examine groundbreaking questions on the function of newly-generated neurons in the adult brain and their computational role. Using a variety of modern techniques (electrophysiology, opto-/chemogenetics, modeling, neurocomputation, and genetics); the aim is to discover the interaction across multiple forms of plasticity in new-born neurons and to characterize how this plasticity shapes information processing in neuronal circuits and networks. This is not only relevant in a healthy context but, in particular, at the early stages of neurodegeneration, when networks still can respond and capable of reserve formation and recompense functions.

We are building a truly interdisciplinary research unit where experimental neuroscience, theory, and engineering expertise team up to foster advances in neuroscience and neurotechnologies. Join us and be one of the first ones using cutting-edge neurotech to improve the use of newly-generated neurons in the brain to stall aging and neurodegeneration. For more information on our research, check our lab page (

Project description

This PhD position is aimed to conduct and analyze multimodal multiscale experiments to understand the mechanisms of the functional plasticity by tackling the functional brain readouts from circuits to networks. These experiments will use a combination of modern approaches, including in vitro and ex vivo electrophysiology (high-resolution microelectrode arrays “CMOS-MEAs”, Calcium Imaging, and patch-clamp recordings), and opto-/chemogenetics. The aim is to obtain a fundamental understanding of neural regeneration circuitry and leveraging this for providing better disease models and novel treatments for neurodegenerative diseases. The successful candidate will take part in all aspects of the project, from experimental design, data generation, analyses, interpretation, and writing of the manuscript.

Your tasks

  • Implement and develop independently in vitro and ex-vivo electrophysiological experiments, new neuromethods, and protocols using a combination of standard and novel electrophysiological techniques (CMOS-MEAs/Patch-clamp/Calcium Imaging).
  • Participating in all aspects of the project, from experimental design, data generation, analyses, interpretation, and writing of the manuscript.
  • Participating and presentation of project results in national and international events.


  • Prior experience in standard in-vitro neuro-electrophysiology applied to brain slices and cell cultures is prerequisite and essential for the assessment. This includes any of the following techniques - (microelectrode arrays, extracellular field potential recordings, and patch-clamp). However, training in these disciplines will be provided to scale it up to the high-resolution electrophysiology with CMOS-MEAs.
  • Knowledge in fluorescence and confocal microscopy, and imaging-based assays (such as calcium imaging) is highly desirable.
  • Affinity for programming (Matlab and Python) is preferred.
  • Enthusiastic, creative team-player, fluent in English with a strong commitment to research.
  • Master degree in biomedical engineering, biophysics, neurophysiology and neuroscience/neurotechnology or relevant scientific/technical discipline with a keen interest in neurotechnology research, and a particular focus on plasticity and electrophysiology.
  • Having the outstanding capability of literature synthesis and troubleshooting of technical challenges.

We offer:

  • Advanced practical skills in experimental design, bioelectrical imaging, statistics, and advanced computational methods for data analysis.
  • Opportunity to learn cutting-edge neuroscience and neurotechniques in a competitive and instructive environment
  • Excellent infrastructure including modern workspaces
  • Dynamic and multicultural environment


Please send your application in a single pdf file (in English) including:

  • a copy of your detailed CV with your up to date relevant experience
  • 1-page motivation letter
  • 1-page statement of scientific achievement and future research interests and plans
  • a list of most impactable publications, if any.
  • a copy of academic transcripts
  • Two or three academic references.

The application should be sent via the link below: as soon as possible but before 30 October 2020. Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. Only applications with previous electrophysiology experience will be considered for evaluation.

Apply here



Contact details

Dr. Hayder Amin

Working hours


Contract length

2 years, extension possible

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 especially welcomes and encourages disabled individuals to apply.