Das Deutsche Zentrum für Neurodegenerative Erkrankungen (DZNE) ist ein weltweit führendes, international ausgerichtetes Forschungszentrum, das sich der Entdeckung neuer Ansätze zur Prävention und Behandlung neurodegenerativer Erkrankungen verschrieben hat. Zu diesem Zweck verfolgen Forscherinnen und Forscher an zehn DZNE-Standorten in ganz Deutschland eine translationale und interdisziplinäre Strategie, die fünf miteinander verbundene Bereiche umfasst: Grundlagenforschung, Klinische Forschung, Versorgungsforschung, Populationsforschung und Systemmedizin. www.dzne.de

PhD position on hippocampal plasticity in human aging

Code: 4045/2020/12

Within the context of the new SFB 1436 “Neuronal Resources on Cognition”, one 3.5-year PhD is available at the DZNE Magdeburg to study how hippocampal vascularization patterns affect cognitive functioning, using a spatial memory task that relies on a posterior medial temporal network of the brain (including the hippocampus). The successful candidate (f/m/d) will develop a training procedure where different groups of younger and older adults (including high-functioning “SuperAgers”) perform a smartphone-based spatial navigation task in the real world and combine it with performance measures from a virtual reality (VR) paradigm to investigate how interindividual variability in neural resources relate to changes in performance in the context of a training intervention.

What we are looking for:

Function: PhD student

Start date: Beginning of 2021

Location: DZNE Magdeburg, Germany


Who we are and what we do:

Research focus: Cognitive Neuroscience research on medial temporal network functioning, aging & dementia

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

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 PhD students and Postdocs


What your role would look like:

Supervisors: Dr. Nadine Diersch & Dr. Anne Maass

Tasks: Develop and implement a behavioral training procedure measuring spatial navigation abilities in different participant groups, characterize performance improvements (e.g. by estimating individual learning states using Bayesian modelling) and link them to the neural status of the participants

Your profile:       

  • MSc in psychology, cognitive neuroscience, neuroimaging methods or related
  • Strong interest in cognitive aging
  • Experience in working with different age and patient groups
  • Interest in working with smartphone data & computational modelling techniques
  • Prior experience with programming languages such as R, Matlab and/or Python
  • Reliability, flexibility, passion
  • German & English language proficiency

For further information (not application!) about this unique opportunity, please email Nadine Diersch (nadine.diersch@dzne.de). To learn more about our research, please visit our websites and follow us on Twitter.



Nadine Diersch, PhD

Aging & Cognition Research Group

Deutsches Zentrum für Neurodegenerative Erkrankungen e.V. (DZNE)

Leipziger Strasse 44

D- 39120 Magdeburg


Twitter: @nadine_diersch


Anne Maass, PhD

Junior Group Leader: Multimodal Neuroimaging

Deutsches Zentrum für Neurodegenerative Erkrankungen e.V. (DZNE)

Leipziger Strasse 44

D- 39120 Magdeburg


Twitter: @anne_maass

Further reading:

For more information about the SFB 1436 (in German), click here.

Diersch, N., Valdes-Herrera, J.-P., Tempelmann, C., & Wolbers, T. (2019). Increased hippocampal excitability and altered learning dynamics mediate cognitive mapping deficits in human aging. bioRxiv. doi: 10.1101/581108.

Maass, A., Düzel, S., Goerke, M., Becke, A., Sobieray, U., Neumann, K., Lövden, M., Lindenberger, U., Bäckman, L., Braun-Dullaeus, R., Ahrens, D., Heinze, H.-J., Müller, N.G., Düzel, E. (2015). Vascular hippocampal plasticity after aerobic exercise in older adults. Molecular Psychiatry, 20(5), 585-593.

Perosa V., Priester A., Ziegler G., Cardenas-Blanco A., Dobisch L., Spallazzi M., Assmann A., Maass A., Speck O., Oltmer J., Heinze H.J., Schreiber S., Düzel E. (2020). Hippocampal vascular reserve associated with cognitive performance and hippocampal volume. Brain, 143(2), 622-634.




Ihr Ansprechpartner

Dr. Anne Maaß




2 years, extension possible


consistent with those at other research institutes


March 20th, 2021

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.