Postdoctoral Research Fellow position: Tracking the deep evolutionary origins of neurons

University of Bergen
    Bergem, Norway
    Job Type


    About The University of Bergen (UiB)

    The University of Bergen is a renowned educational and research institution, organised into seven faculties and approximately 54 institutes and academic centres. Campus is located in the centre of Bergen with university areas at Nygårdshøyden, Haukeland, Marineholmen, Møllendalsveien and Årstad.

    The Michael Sars Centre is situated at the Marineholmen campus together with other research institutes at the University. The Centre is organized as an independent research centre placed within the faculty of Mathematics and Natural Science and partner with European Molecular Biological Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany.

    Postdoctoral Research Fellow position

    There is a vacancy for a postdoctoral research fellow position at the Michael Sars Centre in the research group headed by Dr. Pawel Burkhardt. The position is for a period of 3 years and is funded by an ERC consolidator grant (ORIGINEURO). The Michael 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 Michael Sars Centre. The preferred but negotiable starting date is January or February 2023.

    About the project/work tasks

    The Burkhardt group combines comparative biological systems in the laboratory to understand when and how first synapses, neurons and nervous systems evolved. The group is particularly interested in studying the nervous system of ctenophores. Ctenophores are strong candidates for being the sister-group to all other animals. Given their phylogenetic position characterizing the nervous system of ctenophores promises to reveal fundament insights into the evolutionary origin of neurons. We are looking for a highly self-motivated and enthusiastic Postdoctoral Research Fellow with interests in evolutionary biology, neurobiology and cell biology. The project will focus on the functional characterisation of ctenophore neurons. The successful candidate will undertake research using morpholino knockdowns and Crispr/Cas9 knockouts, calcium imaging and laser ablations to understand whether ctenophores nerve net neurons are excitable and how they communicate with each other. The candidate will work in close association with the group leader and other lab members with the aim to contribute to the further development of the project in line with her/his interests.

    Qualifications and personal qualities

    • The applicant must hold a Norwegian PhD or an equivalent degree in fields related to the project and must have submitted his/her doctoral thesis for assessment prior to the application deadline. It is a condition of employment that the PhD has been awarded
    • Strong motivation/enthusiasm to perform research at an internationally competitive level
    • Practical experience with live imaging of the ctenophore nervous system and calcium imaging on whole ctenophore larvae & dissected tissue is required
    • Practical experience in dissection and mounting of aboral organs and adult lobes for functional imaging (e.g., calcium, voltage, plasma membrane) is highly desirable
    • Practical experience with timelapse imaging of developing ctenophore embryos with vital dyes and imaging ctenophores with whole mount expansion microscopy is beneficial
    • The ability to work both independently and to cooperate with others in a structured manner is essential
    • Proficiency in both written and oral English

    Personal and relational qualities will be emphasized. Ambitions and potential will also count when evaluating the candidates.

    Special requirements for the position:  
    The University of Bergen is subjected to the regulation for export control system. The regulation will be applied in the processing of the applications.

    About the position of postdoctoral research fellow

    The position of postdoctoral research fellow is a fixed-term appointment with the primary objective of qualifying the appointee for work in top academic positions. The fixed-term period for this position is 3 years. Individuals may not be hired for more than one fixed-term period as a postdoctoral research fellow at the same institution.

    For postdoctoral research fellow positions associated with externally financed projects, the completion of the project proposal for the qualifying work, as well as a progress plan, will be developed in cooperation with the supervisor and head of department.

    It is a requirement that the project is completed in the course of the period of employment.

    We can offer

    • A good and professionally stimulating working environment
    • Well-equipped, modern laboratories and facilities
    • Position as Postdoctoral research fellow (code 1352 in the basic collective agreement) and a gross annual salary of NOK 615.700 (equivalent to pay grade 63) upon appointment. Further promotions are made according to length of service in the position. For particularly highly qualified applicants, a higher salary may be considered
    • Enrolment in the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund
    • Good welfare benefits

    Your application in English must include

    • A cover letter of the applicant's research interests and motivation for applying for the position
    • The names and contact information 2-3 reference persons. One of these should be the main advisor from the PhD programme
    • CV
    • Transcripts and diplomas. If you have not yet completed your PhD degree, please submit a statement from your institution confirming that the thesis has been submitted
    • Relevant certificates/references
    • List of publications or other relevant scientific work

    The application and appendices with certified translations into English or a Scandinavian language must be uploaded at JobbNorge.

    General information

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

    For HR related questions, please contact HR adviser Magnus Larsen, email:

    The state labour force shall reflect the diversity of Norwegian society to the greatest extent possible. People with immigrant backgrounds and people with disabilities are encouraged to apply for the position.

    The University of Bergen applies the principle of public access to information when recruiting staff for academic positions.

    Information about applicants may be made public even if the applicant has asked not to be named on the list of persons who have applied. The applicant must be notified if the request to be omitted is not met.

    Further information about our employment process can be found here.

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