Positions available

Positions are available for PhD students and postdocs interested in cytoskeletal dynamics, intracellular transport, cellular biophysics, neurobiology, antibody technologies and their therapeutic applications.

PhD positions in the Kapitein, Kole and Wierenga groups available within the FOM program “NeuroPhotonics: unraveling the physics of signaling in intact neuronal networks.”

Postdoctoral positions within collaborative projects in the Akhmanova group and the Dogterom group at TU Delft available on the analysis of complex cytoskeletal networks in vitro and in cells.

PhD position on Cell Biology in the Akhmanova group on the project “Microtubule organisation and membrane trafficking in metastatic cancer”

PhD position on Molecular Neurobiology in the MacGillavry group available on the project “Receptor trafficking at neuronal synapses”.

PhD and postdoctoral positions on Molecular Neurobiology available in the Hoogenraad group.



Multiple PhD positions are still available within the FOM program NeuroPhotonics: unraveling the physics of signaling in intact neuronal networks. This overall aim of this program is to establish novel imaging and wavefront-shaping technology for the study of neurons in intact tissue, in order to unravel the physical principles underlying signal generation, propagation and integration in neurons embedded in functional circuits.

The available subprojects range from pure photonics to serious neuroscience. Candidates with a strong background in either single-cell neurobiology or (bio)physics who are interested in crossing disciplinary borders and working within a multidisciplinary team are encouraged to apply.

Available subprojects:

  • Nanoscopy in brain tissue

PI: Lukas Kapitein – l.kapitein@uu.nl

In this project, STED microscopy and Single Molecule Localization Microscopy will be used to understand how the spatial distribution of ion channels modulates the initiation and propagation action potentials. Different forms of wavefront-shaping will be employed to improve contrast and resolution.

  • Action potential imaging using holographic illumination

PI: Maarten Kole  – m.kole@nin.knaw.nl

In this project, holographic illumination techniques will by established to image the propagation of action potentials using voltage sensitive dyes. 

  • Action potential propagation in dendrites

PI: Corette Wierenga – c.j.wierenga@uu.nl

In this project, two-photon microscopy and adaptive optics will be used to unravel how dendritic ion channels and inhibitory inputs shape local propagation of action potentials within dendrites

To apply, send your CV, motivation letter and contact details of two references to the indicated PI. All PhD students will be employed by FOM/NWO.


In the lab of Anna Akhmanova, 1 postdoc position (3 years) is available.
To apply, please send an email to A.Akhmanova@uu.nl

Multifactorial control of microtubule dynamics in vitro and in cells

Microtubule dynamics are regulated by a plethora of factors, the individual activities of which are known. However, it is still poorly understood how these factors work together and how their collective activity is modulated by physical barriers and interactions with other cytoskeletal structures such as actin. The aim of this project is to address these questions by combining cell biological experiments, multicomponent in vitro reconstitution assays and the use of microfabricated devices. This project is in collaboration with the groups of Marileen Dogterom at TU Delft, Gijsje Koenderink at AMOLF and Lukas Kapitein at Utrecht University.


In the lab of Marileen Dogterom, 2 postdoc positions (3 years) are available
To apply, please send an email to M.Dogterom@tudelft.nl

Reconstitution of asymmetric spindle positioning in vitro

Asymmetric positioning of the mitotic spindle in for example the single cell stage C elegans embryo depends on a combination of pulling and pushing forces generated by dynamic microtubule ends at the cell cortex. In this project we use a combination of microfluidic and opto-control techniques to reconstitute the asymmetric positioning of minimal spindles in functionalized emulsion droplets using a minimal set of components. This project is in collaboration with the groups of Anna Akhmanova, Lukas Kapitein, and Sander van den Heuvel at Utrecht University.

Reconstitution of microtubule-based polarity gradients in vitro

Microtubules contribute to the establishment of polarity patterns by delivering polarity factors to the cell cortex. In this project we will reconstitute fission yeast Pom1 gradients in elongated emulsions droplets using a minimal set of molecular components. This project is in collaboration with the groups of Sophie Martin (Lausanne), Suliana Manley (Lausanne), and Aurelien Roux (Geneva).


In the lab of Anna Akhmanova, a PhD position (4 years) is available.
To apply, please send an email to A.Akhmanova@uu.nl

Microtubule organisation and membrane trafficking in metastatic cancer

Metastasis is the major cause of cancer-related mortality. It depends on the ability of cancer cells to migrate away from the primary tumour and invade distant organs. Cancer cell motility has been extensively investigated in conventional two-dimensional cell culture systems. However, recent studies firmly established that cancer cell behaviour and architecture is best studied in three-dimensional (3D) matrices, which more closely mimic the 3D physiological tumour microenvironment. In this project, we propose to investigate how microtubule dynamics and microtubule-based membrane trafficking contribute to cancer cell motility in 3D and to metastasis in mice. The project is a collaboration with the laboratories of Judith Klumperman and Patrick Derksen at UMC Utrecht.



MacGillavry group

PhD student Molecular Neurobiology: “receptor trafficking at neuronal synapses” (1.0 FTE), for details click here.
Also: http://www.academictransfer.com/38173
To apply: https://www.academictransfer.com/employer/UU/vacancy/38173/apply/



Hoogenraad group

PhD student or Postdoctoral researcher Molecular Neurobiology
The project forms part of a ZonMW financed TOP grant, with the aim to examine the mechanism by which early life stress lastingly changes signal transfer in the brain. The focus of the project is on glutamatergic transmission in the hippocampus. The PhD student / Postdoc researcher will primarily use live cell imaging technology to visualize receptor dynamics in hippocampal cultures and slices. The project is complementary to a second part of the grant that will primarily apply patch clamp electrophysiological techniques to investigate how shortly after early life stress glutamatergic transmission is altered. The position is full-time and will mostly concern doing research.

In addition, the student will enroll in the PhD program of Brain Center Rudolf Magnus, which offers an extensive variety of courses; see for more information: http://www.rudolfmagnus.nl/ training and career/ PhD program. The PhD student / Postdoc researcher will also be asked to assist (to a limited extent) in the education of Bachelor and Master students. The experimental work shall take place at the Division Cell Biology, Department of Biology, Faculty of Science at Utrecht University. This project will be performed in close collaboration with SILS-CNS at University of Amsterdam and the Brain Center Rudolf Magnus / Dept. Translational Neuroscience at UMC Utrecht.

We are looking for an enthusiastic and motivated life scientist with experience in molecular biology and neurobiology. Preferably the candidate should have earlier experience with live cell imaging. The candidate should start September 1, 2014, by the latest.

For further information about this position can be obtained from: Prof. dr. Casper Hoogenraad (email: c.hoogenraad@uu.nl or telephone: +31 30 253 4585).

PHD POSITIONS: One position is still available in the FOM program “Barriers in the Brain: the molecular physics of learning and memory”, which aims to unravel the functional connection between the dendritic spine morphology and synapse functioning using a large variety of experimental techniques, such as super-resolution live-cell microscopy, molecular engineering, mathematical modelling and in vitro and ex vivo cell culturing of neurons.

The available subprojects are highly interdisciplinary and range from proteomics approaches to dendritic spine morphogenesis to the study of spine and transport vesicle morphodynamics using superresolution microscopy. Candidates with a strong background in either cell biology, (bio)chemistry or physics who are interested in crossing disciplinary borders are encouraged to apply.

These projects will be performed in collaboration with the groups of Casper Hoogenraad and Lukas Kapitein. Send your application to Prof. dr. Casper Hoogenraad (c.hoogenraad@uu.nl) or dr. Lukas Kapitein (l.kapitein@uu.nl).

We are looking for talented and motivated postdoctoral candidates who are interested in studying ‘Cell Biology of Neurons’. The positions are available in a NWO-ALW VICI grant on ‘Molecular mechanisms of dendritic spine plasticity’. Applicants for this position should have expertise in live-cell fluorescent imaging with an interest in cellular mechanisms of protein trafficking, organelle transport, microtubule dynamics and neuronal morphogenesis. Good writing skills, publications in high impact journals and a track record of successful grant/fellowship writing are expected. Send your application to Prof. dr. Casper Hoogenraad (c.hoogenraad@uu.nl).