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PhD position: Evolutionary origin of synaptic proteins at the Sars Centre in Bergen, Norway

Posted by , on 30 April 2019

Closing Date: 15 March 2021

PhD position

There is a vacancy for a 4-year PhD student position at the Sars International Centre for Marine Molecular Biology in the research group of Dr. Pawel Burkhardt ( The position is funded by Sars Centre core funding. The Sars Centre belongs to the University of Bergen and is partner of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) ( The place of work will be at the Sars Centre. The starting date is flexible, but should be no later than 01 October 2019.

About the project/work tasks:

The goal of the Burkhardt group is to reconstruct the evolutionary origin of synapses and neurons. The group is particularly interested in studying synaptic protein homologs in choanoflagellates, sponges and ctenophores. We are looking for a highly self-motivated and enthusiastic PhD student with interests in evolutionary biology, neurobiology or cell biology. The successful candidate will undertake research with the possibility to use a variety of techniques, ranging from various biochemical methods to X-ray crystallography, super resolution immunofluorescence and electron microscopy, to study synaptic protein homologs in choanoflagellates and sponges (for examples see: Burkhardt et al, 2011 PNAS; Burkhardt et al, 2014 Mol Bio Evo; Bhattacharyya et al, 2016 eLife; Laundon et al, 2019 PLoS Biology). The PhD project will focus on when protein signalling complexes required for synaptic activity first evolved and how they functioned at a molecular level.

Qualifications and personal qualities:

  • The applicant must hold a master’s degree or the equivalent or must have submitted his/her master’s thesis for assessment prior to the application deadline. It is a condition of employment that the master’s degree has been awarded.
  • Routine experience in standard molecular and cellular biology techniques is required
  • Practical experience in a variety of biochemical techniques (e.g. protein expression & purification, Co-IPs, mass spec) and with different fluorescence imaging techniques is highly desirable
  • Specific experience with choanoflagellates is beneficial, but not essential.
  • The ability to work both independently and to cooperate with others and a high motivation/enthusiasm is essential.
  • Proficiency in both written and oral English

About the PhD position:

The duration of the PhD position is 4 years, of which 25 per cent of the time each year comprises required duties associated with research, teaching and dissemination of results. The employment period may be reduced if you have previously been employed in a recruitment position.

About the research training:

As a PhD Candidate, you must participate in an approved educational programme for a PhD degree within a period of 4 years. A final plan for the implementation of the research training must be approved by the faculty within three months after you have commenced in the position. It is a condition that you satisfy the enrolment requirements for the PhD programme at the University of Bergen.

We can offer:

  • A professional, challenging and international working environment.
  • Well-equipped, modern laboratories and facilities
  • Salary at pay grade 51 (Code 1017/Pay range 20, alternative 9) in the state salary scale. Currently equal to NOK 449.400. Further promotions are made according to qualifications and length of service in the position
  • Enrolment in the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund.
  • A position in an inclusive workplace (IA enterprise).
  • Good welfare benefits

Your application in English must include:

  • A brief account of the applicant’s research interests and motivation for applying for the position
  • The names and contact information for two reference persons. One of these must be the main advisor for the master’s thesis or equivalent thesis
  • CV
  • Transcripts and diplomas showing completion of the bachelor’s and master’s degrees, or official confirmation that the master’s thesis has been submitted
  • Relevant certificates/references
  • List of published papers and pre-prints or other relevant scientific work.

Please note that the entire application and relevant appendices with certified translations into English or a Scandinavian language must be uploaded at Jobbnorge. Applications submitted without required information or applications sent as e-mails will not be considered. Only submitted documents will be subjected to an expert assessment.

Application Deadline: 26 May 2019 

The application and appendices must be uploaded at Jobbnorge (

General information:

Detailed information about the position can be obtained by contacting: Group Leader Pawel Burkhardt, phone: +47 906 48 539, email:

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Categories: Jobs, Lab Life, News, Research, Uncategorized

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