PhD project on Systems Neuroscience (NERF)

Leuven - PhD
More than two weeks ago

The successful candidate will apply optogenetic and cellular imaging techniques to study sensory processing in the visual cortex of awake, behaving mice.

Apply for this job

PhD Student position in systems neuroscience available in the laboratory of Vincent Bonin at Neuro-Electronics Research Flanders in Leuven, Belgium.


  • Masters’ in neuroscience, computer science, physics, mathematics or engineering.
  • Strong quantitative and technical skills and fluency in at least one programming language (e.g. Matlab, Python, C++).
  • Research experience in systems neuroscience or cellular physiology.
  • Comfortable working with rodents and performing precise surgical procedures.
  • You like to be challenged, and are able to work independently, as well as within a team, towards established goals.

We offer

The successful candidate will have access to state-of-the-art tools and facilities, a rich training environment, and the possibility to collaborate with other groups within NERF, VIB, IMEC and KU Leuven. A good knowledge of English is sufficient for all communications. Situated in the university town of Leuven (close to Brussels and with excellent transport links), the position is ideally suited to international candidates.

How to apply

Interested students should send a CV, a copy of their university transcripts, names of 3 referees, and a cover letter stating career goals, research interests, and how these relate to our research.

Selected publications

  • Lee WC, Bonin V, Reed M, Graham BJ, Hood G, Glattfelder K, Reid RC, “Anatomy and function of an excitatory network in the visual cortex”, Nature, (2016)
  • Glickfeld LL, Andermann ML, Bonin V, Reid RC, “Cortico-cortical projections in mouse visual cortex are functionally target specific”, Nature Neuroscience, 16(2):219-26, (2013)
  • Bonin V, Histed MH, Yurgenson S, Reid RC, “Local diversity and fine-scale organization of receptive fields in mouse visual cortex”, The Journal of Neuroscience, 31(50):18506-21, (2011)

About the lab

The Bonin lab studies the network mechanisms that underlie sensory processing in the mammalian brain. Using fast and sensitive laser-scanning microscopes and advanced microprobes recordings, we measure the activity of large groups of nerve cells while the animal explores a controlled virtual environment. By relating the measured neural responses to the sensory stimuli experienced by the animal, we infer the sensory computations performed by the network. We are particularly intersted in in how specific components of the circuit implement specific sensory computations, and how these computations relate to the animal’s behaviour.

About NERF

Neuro-Electronics Research Flanders (NERF, is a young not-for-profit academic research initiative with the ultimate goal of forming a thorough understanding of brain function at multiple levels of detail ranging from single cells and circuits to behaviour. New insights into the operation of brain circuits are empowered by the development of novel technologies that integrate neurobiology and nano-scale engineering. We aim to develop and use novel electronic, chemical and optical tools to monitor and manipulate brain circuits. In the long term the basic research at NERF is expected to inspire scientists to simulate brain networks, as well as lay a scientific framework for the development of novel medical applications, in particular the the diagnosis and treatment of neurological disorders.

Founded by Imec, VIB, and KU Leuven, NERF is housed on the imec campus in Leuven, Belgium, where researchers work in cross-disciplinary teams, benefitting from imec’s state-of-the-art clean room infrastructure and set of neuroscience labs. NERF is made up of 6 teams doing world-class basic research in systems and circuits neuroscience and has recruited 2 additional groups. Continuous funding is provided by the 3 founders and the Government of Flanders. NERF scientists have the opportunity to collaborate with over 30 local neuroscience research groups covering a wide range of expertise, including synaptic physiology, axon guidance, brain-computer interface, neurological disorders.

Apply for this job