Valeria Gazzola

PhD position Social Brain Lab

The Social Brain Lab has an outstanding opportunity for a PhD student interested in pioneering ultrasound imaging to map information transfer in the social brain of rodents.
4 years


Project and methods

Very recently ultrasounds brain imaging became available as a tool to image brain hemodynamic changes at high spatial and temporal resolution. This provides a unique opportunity for the neuroscience community to investigate brain dynamics. The candidate will be paired with a postdoc with a physics background to help pioneer this approach to investigate the circuits of empathy and prosocial behavior in rodents. The experiments will involve sophisticated behavioral models as well as advanced data analyses and provide the unique opportunity to be at the forefront of this new technological development. A positive, flexible, energetic attitude and a strong affinity for analyzing complex neuroscience data will be essential for the project, together with the ability to collaborate with researchers from different disciplines while at the same time being an independent researcher.

Desired skills and experience

  • Master degree or equivalent in behavioral neuroscience or related fields
  • Research experience with small animal behavioral studies
  • Experience with small animal surgeries
  • Experience in programing languages (Python or similar)
  • Experience with electro-physiology and signal processing will be considered a plus
  • Highly motivated, energetic, detail orientated and capable to work and troubleshoot independently and collaboratively
  • Have excellent oral and written communication skills in English


The project will be held at the Social Brain Lab (SBL), led by Valeria Gazzola and Christian Keysers. The lab investigates the neural bases of empathy by combining human and animal experiments with last-generation imaging and neuro-modulatory techniques. The Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience is the country’s leading fundamental neuroscience research institute. Both the PI’s have an additional position at the University of Amsterdam, one of the top psychology departments in Europe. Together this provides a critical mass of experts in the most advanced neuroscience techniques, together with a dynamic multi-cultural environment. English is the working language of the research group and is extremely well spoken in the vibrant and international city of Amsterdam, creating an attractive, progressive and easy-to-integrate environment.
The SBL is highly diverse, with members from more than 8 nations (from South-America to India) with backgrounds ranging from physics to engineering with an emphasis on biology and psychology. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, age, protected veteran or status as disabled status, or genetic information.


PhD position: The gross monthly salary coming with a full-time appointment will amount to a minimum of € 2.325,- in the first year to € 2.972,- in the fourth year (P scale of the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, CAO NU).
A 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% year-end bonus are excluded.
We offer an extensive package of fringe benefits.

Starting date

As soon as the ideal candidate is identified.

Application and deadline

Applicants are welcomed to submit their application through (and only through) the online form until the 20th of January 2020. The online application will include four sections:

  1. General information
  2. Education and research experience
  3. Research and personal skills
  4. CV, motivation letter and recommendation letters

For any encountered problems, or further information please email

Evaluation of candidates will begin immediately, and after about 4 weeks from the deadline candidates will be informed whether they passed the first round or not. Shortlisted candidates will receive, taking into account candidates’ availability, an assignment to be done within 48h. Based on the results of the assignment, we will organize a 1h Skype interview followed by a visit on site. We foresee a final decision to be communicated within three months after the first submission date.

Any acquisition further to this advertisement will not be appreciated