Interdisciplinary PhD position combining iPSC disease modelling, large-scale extracellular electrophysiology and machine learning

100%, Basel, fixed-term

The BioEngineering Laboratory at the Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering is seeking a highly motivated and enthusiastic PhD student for an interdisciplinary PhD project targeted at investigating the pathophysiology of Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and potential treatment strategies.

The position is planned for 3 - 4 years (PhD).

Project background

The interdisciplinary project will be carried out in close collaboration with clinical research partners from the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at the University of Zurich (Prof. Edna Grünblatt), and the Department of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatic Medicine at the University Hospital Würzburg, Germany (Prof. Sarah Kittel).

Job description

In the framework of a Personalized Health and Related Technology (PHRT) project involving academic and clinical research partners, the PhD student will work with human induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived forebrain cortical neurons as in vitro cell model system of ADHD. More specifically, you will characterize disease-induced effects in patient-derived neuronal cells to assess the efficacy and guide the application of pharmacological treatments. To this end, you will perform extracellular high-density microelectrode-array recordings to study the development of neuronal networks derived from patients with ADHD and matched healthy controls. You will develop software in MATLAB/Python to analyze and interpret large-volume data sets. Besides electrophysiological microelectrode-array recordings, several other methods, such as immunohistochemistry, confocal imaging, and patch-clamp measurements will be used to functionally characterize individual neurons and their contribution to activity in the network.

Your profile

You have a background in neuroscience, cell biology, physics, signal processing or related fields. We expect that the student has already acquired good programming skills (e.g., in MATLAB or Python), knowledge in statistics and data analysis methods, or extensive cell culture experience (ideally, involving iPSC technology). Knowledge in electrophysiology would be desirable. Moreover, You must be able to fluently communicate in English (oral and written) and be willing to work in a highly interactive international team. Academic excellence, a professional work attitude and a proactive and self-driven nature are expected. The position is fully funded for up to 4 years; the starting date is flexible but must be before November 2022.

Your workplace

We offer

ETH Zurich is a family-friendly employer with excellent working conditions. You can look forward to an exciting working environment, cultural diversity and attractive offers and benefits.

Working, teaching and research at ETH Zurich

We value diversity

In line with our values, ETH Zurich encourages an inclusive culture. We promote equality of opportunity, value diversity and nurture a working and learning environment in which the rights and dignity of all our staff and students are respected. Visit our Equal Opportunities and Diversity website to find out how we ensure a fair and open environment that allows everyone to grow and flourish.

Curious? So are we.

We look forward to receiving your online application by September 30th 2022: 

  • CV
  • short and specific motivation statement for this position (1/2 page)
  • full transcripts
  • at least two reference letters and contact details of referees

Please note that we exclusively accept applications submitted through our online application portal. Incomplete application packages and applications via e-mail or postal services will not be considered.

Further information about the Bio Engineering Laboratory can be found on our website. For more information on the position, please contact - exclusively via e-mail: Dr. Sreedhar Kumar (sreedhar.kumar@bsse.ethz.ch) or Dr. Julian Bartram (julian.bartram@bsse.ethz.ch).

About ETH Zürich

ETH Zurich is one of the world’s leading universities specialising in science and technology. We are renowned for our excellent education, cutting-edge fundamental research and direct transfer of new knowledge into society. Over 30,000 people from more than 120 countries find our university to be a place that promotes independent thinking and an environment that inspires excellence. Located in the heart of Europe, yet forging connections all over the world, we work together to develop solutions for the global challenges of today and tomorrow.