Expression of Interest - Spanish Hosting Offers - MSCA-IF 2018

Application deadline:

Brief description of the Research Group

The Dierssen lab is centered on understanding cognition and behavior and their perturbation in intellectual disability. Our main question is:

What are the changes in neuronal architecture and connectivity that disrupt cortical and hippocampal function, in genetic cognitive disorders? In other words, what is the multi-scale link from molecular alterations to impaired cognition and behavior?

We are an interdisciplinary team of physicists, bioinformaticians and experimental biologists, and we focus on data collection (behavior, 3D imaging, genomic data) of many variables of the system (longitudinal behavioral analysis, population based analysis in neuronal networks, gene expression patterns). We take advantage of computer modeling and bioinformatics analysis (gene networks, neuronal network modeling, etc.) to tackling classical unresolved questions in the field, such as: (a) pathological disturbances of structural optimality in single cell and neuronal networks, (b) genomic dependence of cognitive disturbances, (c) identification of predictive non-invasive biomarkers, (d) discovery of pro-cognitive therapies.

More info here:


Project Description (including a brief description of the topic and of the profile of the candidate(s))

We aim to study how the network topology of neuronal circuits is affected by dendritic architectural features in a mouse model of intellectual disability, namely Down's syndrome, and upon the rewiring effect of pro-cognitive treatment. We have developed computational tools for analyzing and modeling the anatomy of neuronal circuits while bridging the microscopic and mesoscopic scales (NEuronal Multiscale-Multimodal Maps and MOdels) to construct for the first time structure-function maps from brain clearing and neurophysiology experiments, bridging scales and modalities at unprecedented levels of resolution. We will generate high-quality structural data using cutting-edge clearing techniques for 3D anatomical structure atlas.

The candidate will join a collaborative project contributing on the structural interrogation of whole brains in various pathological conditions. He/she will be involved in the clearing, imaging, analysis and modelling of mouse whole brain structural information. He/she will also develop small processing scripts to extend analysis software already developed in-house.


Degree in Physics or similar. Master in Biophysics or similar. PhD in Biomedicine or similar. Indispensable to have Certificate of animal experimentation. PhD in an area involving Neuroscience, Computational Modelling, Down syndrome or Alzheimer’s disease.

Experience using the CLARITY technique.

Experience in a laboratory and skills including PCR genotyping, immunohistochemistry and chemical reagent management.

Experience in the processing and analysis of big sample (1 cm3) light-sheet fluorescence imaging datasets.

Desirable skills

Knowledge in iDISCO, Scale, SWITCH and other clearing techniques.

Experience in immunohistochemistry in whole brain samples.

Experience in using Labview



Researchers should first check that they meet the MSCA eligibility criteria (in particular the mobility rule) and then send an expression of interest, including the following information:

- An updated CV (max. 5 pages)

- A summary of the research proposal (max. 5 pages)

- A motivation letter (1 page)

Expressions of interest must be adressed to Dr Mara Dierssen, President Trisomy 21 Research Society, Systems Biology Program at CRG, and must be submitted online through the "APPLY" button below.

Deadline: 5th of June 2018.

Candidates will be informed of the results of the selection one week after the deadline.