Postdoctoral position on the stability and plasticity of emotional memory

Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences – Department of Psychology

Publication date
16 April 2018
Level of education
PhD
Salary indication
€3,475 to €4,757 gross per month
Closing date
13 May 2018
Hours
38 hours per week
Vacancy number
18-188

The Department of Psychology is part of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG), the largest educational and research institution in the social sciences in the Netherlands. The Faculty serves 7500 students in numerous Bachelor and Master programs in Psychology, Political Science, Sociology, Anthropology, Communication Science, Social Geography, Planning and International Development Studies, and Educational Sciences. Psychology is situated centrally in Amsterdam, and hosts program groups focusing on social, organizational, developmental, clinical, statistical, and cognitive psychology. It offers excellent facilities for undertaking research in a broad range of areas, including a range of psychophysiological, behavioral, EEG and TMS laboratories, as well as a 3T and 7T MRI scanner.

Project description

The breakthrough discovery in animal research that fear memories may change upon retrieval has sparked a wave of interest into research on the malleability of emotional memory, also known as memory reconsolidation. Inspired by these insights, we have developed a novel approach to pharmacologically neutralize the affective component from fear memories in humans. Although these findings suggest a paradigm shift in clinical practice, there remain many fundamental questions to be resolved.

For this project, we seek a highly motivated and talented Postdoctoral researcher. This research project has two strands with the aim to: 1) uncovering the neural markers of fear memory reconsolidation using fear conditioning with state-of-the art neural imaging and novel sophisticated analytical techniques, and 2) understanding the role of sleep in memory reconsolidation using fear-conditioning and sleep-registration. Your task is to collect and analyse data to write experimental papers and present your work at international conferences.

You will conduct your research under the supervision of Prof. Merel Kindt, Dr Renée Visser and Prof. Eus van Someren at the University of Amsterdam. The project is funded by the ERC Advanced Grant awarded to Merel Kindt for the project ‘Understanding the Stability and Plasticity of Emotional Memory’. The project is also part of the emotional memory lab (Dr V. van Ast, Dr R. Visser), which focusses on the neurobiological and psychological mechanisms of emotional memory, and how these processes explain clinically relevant phenomena like emotional memory disorders.

Requirements

You have:

  • (or are about to obtain) a PhD degree in psychology or a related field such as cognitive neuroscience, psychobiology, or biomedical science;
  • a strong interest in the neuroscience of memory, the psychology of fears and anxiety disorders;
  • experience with fMRI research, experience with fear-conditioning research or sleep registration, strong programming skills (e.g., R, Matlab, Python);
  • strong analytical and statistical skills, and experience with method development;
  • the ambition to become a leading scientist;
  • a good command of written and spoken English;
  • good project management skills;
  • excellent social skills and team spirit. You are expected to work in an interdisciplinary environment, sharing technical know-how and ideas. Full flexibility with regard to working hours is required in view of the type of research. You are willing and able to travel internationally.

Further information

Would you like to know more? Please contact:

Appointment

The position starts in the summer of 2018 and is initially for two years. Extension of the contract to a total of three years depends on satisfactory performance. Based on a full-time appointment the gross monthly salary will be between €3,475 and €4,757 (scale 11) depending on your qualifications and experience. The Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities is applicable.

Job application

Are you interested? For full consideration, you may send your application by email to Herman Vinckers before 14 May 2018. Please quote vacancy number 18-188 in the subject line of your email and include, in one assembled pdf file, the following three documents:

  • letter of motivation (maximally one page, attn. of Prof. Merel Kindt);
  • detailed Curriculum Vitae;
  • the names and contact details of two scientists who are willing to provide references.

Please quote the project title (Understanding the Stability and Plasticity of Emotional Memory) on your application and include all the required documentation when applying. #LI-DNP

No agencies please

Published by  University of Amsterdam