PhD Position in Sensory Neurophysiology

Lund University Faculty of Medicine

PhD in Sensory Neurophysiology

Institutionen för experimentell medicinsk vetenskap

Lund University was founded in 1666 and is repeatedly ranked among the world’s top 100 universities. The University has 40 000 students and more than 8 000 staff based in Lund, Helsingborg and Malmö. We are united in our efforts to understand, explain and improve our world and the human condition.

The Faculty of Medicine is a part of Lund University, and is responsible for education and research within medicine and healthcare. Our academic programs are closely linked with the healthcare system and are firmly anchored in the faculty’s strong research tradition. Our research spans a broad field within experimental preclinical research, near-patient clinical research and health sciences research. The Faculty of Medicine, with its 1,800 employees and 2,700 students in Lund and Malmö, is a knowledge-intensive meeting place for students, teachers and researchers from all over the world.

The research group

The Sensory Neurophysiology group, headed by Associate Senior Lecturer Anders Enjin, studies how the brain transforms sensory information into neural signals. We use the vinegar fly Drosophila melanogaster for our studies since it’s an outstanding model organism for many areas of neuroscience research. It has a relatively small brain that generates complex innate and learned behaviors and there is a seemingly endless amount of neurogenetic tools available to study its function.

 Recently, we described the genes and circuits that underly how humidity is sensed by Drosophila. Humidity is a climatic factor that influences the fitness, reproductive behavior and geographic distribution of land-living animals. Insects in particular use humidity cues to navigate the environment, for example disease-vectors such as mosquitoes and tsetse flies use humidity gradients from warm-blooded animals to localize them for a blood meal. Despite the importance of humidity sensing in the life of animals, the sensory transduction mechanism is currently unknown.

We are now seeking a curious and motivated person to take on the project “The molecular and ultrastructural basis of humidity sensing”. The aim of the project is to use volume electron microscopy and neurogenetic techniques to unravel the enigmatic transduction mechanism of humidity sensation. This position is suitable for someone who is deeply interested in how the brain works and want to apply advanced image processing methods to extend our knowledge on the sensory world of animals.

Work assignment

How can a sensory receptor that is shielded from air and submerged in liquid detect changes in the concentration of water molecules in the air? Answering this question is fundamental for understanding humidity sensing and the main question to be approached with this project. The project focuses on using volume electron microscopy to generate a detailed map of the humidity sensory organ from moist-adapted and dry-adapted flies to uncover humidity-induced ultrastructural dynamics. The project involves all steps of this procedure including preparation of tissue, microscopy, image segmentation and registration, analysis and visualization. These anatomical studies will be followed up by molecular studies to identify which molecular players are involved in the observed structural dynamics, using cellular and molecular biology techniques and in vivo calcium imaging.

 The main duty of PhD students is to engage in their research studies, which includes participating in research projects and mandatory third cycle courses studies. The work duties can also include teaching and other departmental duties. Some experiments for this project will be carried out at the University of Copenhagen.


The ideal candidate is a creative, smart, enthusiastic and friendly person that has excellent analytical and organizational skills, can work both independently and as a part of a team, and is able to learn complex tasks from general instruction.

The following are required for the position:

  • Master’s degree in Medicine, Natural Science, Engineering, Mathematics or a related discipline
  • Proficiency in oral and written communication in English.
  • Strong communication, presentation and writing skills.

The following are considered to be a merit:

  • Prior hands-on laboratory experience, especially using cellular and molecular biology techniques.
  • Experience working with Drosophila melanogaster or other genetic model organisms.
  • Experience with physiological techniques, especially calcium imaging or electrophysiology.
  • Knowledge and understanding of microscopy techniques, especially electron microscopy.
  • Prior programming experience, especially using the language R.
  • Experience with and understanding of biological image processing.


Students with basic eligibility for third-cycle studies are those who- have completed a second-cycle degree- have completed courses of at least 240 credits, of which at least 60 credits are from second-cycle courses, or- have acquired largely equivalent knowledge in some other way, in Sweden or abroad.

The employment of doctoral students is regulated in the Swedish Code of Statues 1998: 80. Only those who are or have been admitted to PhD-studies may be appointed to doctoral studentships. When an appointment to a doctoral studentship is made, the ability of the student to benefit from PhD-studies shall primarily be taken into account. In addition to devoting themselves to their studies, those appointed to doctoral studentships may be required to work with educational tasks, research and administration, in accordance with specific regulations in the ordinance

Instructions for the application

The application must contain a personal motivation letter, a CV, contact information of two references, a diploma (including a grade transcript) and other documents you wish to be considered. Please provide the letter, CV and other documents in English. Those applicants who will be called for interview, may be asked to perform a small test to demonstrate basic competence.

Type of employment

Fixed-term employment, four years according to HF 5 kap 7§.

Lund University welcomes applicants with diverse backgrounds and experiences. We regard gender equality and diversity as a strength and an asset. We kindly decline all sales and marketing contacts.

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Type of employment Temporary position longer than 6 months
First day of employment september 2020 eller enligt överenskommelse
Salary Monthly salary
Number of positions 1
Working hours 100 %
City Malmö
County Skåne län
Country Sweden
Reference number PA2020/2025
Maria Palmkron, personalsamorndare, 046-2220000
Anders Enjin, forskargruppschef, +46462220625
Union representative
OFR/ST:Fackförbundet ST:s kansli, 046-222 93 62
SACO:Saco-s-rådet vid Lunds universitet, 046-222 93 64
SEKO: Seko Civil, 046-222 93 66
Published 10.Jun.2020
Last application date 08.Jul.2020 11:59 PM CET