Two PhD positions: drug discovery for neurological diseases

Oct 11, 2020
Oct 22, 2020
Organization Type
University and College
Full Time
We are looking for two talented and enthusiastic PhD students to join the Laboratory of Dr. Panayiota Poirazi at IMBB-FORTH. The PhD will be awarded by the University of Crete and applicants must be accepted in a PhD program at UoC before the start of the contract. The successful applicants will work on a multidisciplinary collaborative project aiming to develop a new prototype technology that can be used for drug discovery for neurological diseases. In this new hybrid technology, computational neuronal networks that simulate dysfunction will drive cultured neurons to replicate Alzheimer's disease. Nanoelectrodes will mediate the transmission between simulated and biological neurons, at multiple subcellular locations. Neuronal responses will be read out with advanced imaging techniques and will be fed back to the simulated neurons, closing the loop and enabling control of activity states across the hybrid population. A proof-of-concept will be provided for Alzheimer's disease, using human (iPSC)-derived neurons while testing the effects of novel drug candidates. The NEUREKA partners include the University of Padua (Prof. Vassanelli), CNRS (Prof. Larrieu), the University of Milano Bicocca (Prof. Fanciulli) and Maxwell Biosystems. The successful candidates will work on the development of computational circuit models of neurons equipped with dendritic nonlinearities and plasticity for different brain areas (based on the model developed in the Poirazi Lab, by Kastellakis et al, Cell Reports, 2016). The Poirazi Lab investigates how dendrites and their integrative properties contribute to learning and memory related functions, using primarily computational techniques. In close collaboration with experimentalists, models are used to explain findings and predict new roles for dendrites in functions such as spatial navigation/learning, working and associative memory, visual processing etc. The lab has recently expanded its research to include experiments in mice, whereby the role of dendrites in prefrontal functions is investigated via behavioral, electrophysiological and imaging techniques. The laboratory offers a thriving, ambitious research environment which is well funded from several grants.

Vacancy terms: Full Time, Fixed Term from 1st January 2021 for 1 year (renewable for 2 more years)
Salary: PhD fellowship 9.600€ (net) per annum

We seek candidates interested in pursuing a PhD in computational neuroscience. They must be highly motivated and creative individuals who want to work in a dynamic, multi-disciplinary research
environment and be willing to interact with both experimental and theoretical neuroscientists. Previous experience should include solid programming skills, ideally including computational simulations of neurons. Experience
Applications must include:
full CV
statement of research interest and name and
contact of 2-3 referees

IMBB ( is part of FORTH (, one of the leading research foundations worldwide. IMBB is one of the most prominent life science research institutions in Greece, with an outstanding record of scientific achievements, state of the art infrastructure and a broad range of research, innovation and high quality, inspirational educational activities. In addition, IMBB is strongly committed to inclusivity, promoting equality and celebrating diversity among its staff and students. The wide-range of research activities in the Institute aim at understanding the basic biological processes operating in living organisms. IMBB also hosts interdisciplinary research programs at the interface of biology with informatics, chemistry, physics or medicine and is heavily involved in providing post-graduate students high-level education through joint graduate programs with the University of Crete. An additional standing mandate of IMBB is the exploitation and translation of acquired knowledge to tangible societal benefits, including the development of new technologies, innovative products and services. IMBB is located close to Heraklion which is the largest city and the administrative capital of the island of Crete, located south of the Greek mainland. It is the fifth largest city in Greece with a population of > 140,000 and is famous for its lively lifestyle and the outstanding outdoors.