Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions

ESR (PhD Student) position: Genetic and stress effects on the genoarchitecture and transcriptomics of the central extended amygdala

This job offer has expired

    Universitat de Lleida
    Agricultural sciencesOther
    Biological sciencesZoology
    Computer scienceInformatics
    Computer scienceModelling tools
    Medical sciencesVeterinary medicine
    Pharmacological sciencesVeterinary pharmacology
    First Stage Researcher (R1)
    15/05/2019 23:00 - Europe/London
    Spain › Lleida
    H2020 / Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions

Stress is essential for survival, but too much stress is harmful for both humans and animals. Chronic stress increases disease susceptibility in farm animals, and has a negative impact on their growth and reproduction, as well as on the quality of food products such as chicken eggs and meat. In mammals, stress responses are regulated by forebrain networks, which involve the amygdala as a central structure. Our group recently identified different subdivisions and neuron populations of the amygdala in chickens. However, the implication of this avian structure in stress is unknown. As part of a European Network that is investigating the factors that can make hens more or less resilient to stress, this proposed PhD project will investigate how the amygdala regulates the stress response in chickens. This is a project ideal for a comparative neuroscientist and will include study of gene expression and transcriptome analysis in the avian amygdala of chickens with different resilience to stress or raised under different environmental conditions. This work will also link to other work from our laboratory on the development, molecular profile and role of different neurons of the amygdala in the control of emotional responses, social cognition and behavior. We offer a unique opportunity to join a highly stimulating, interdisciplinary and translational European network, where the ESR will learn state-of-the art techniques and innovative research approaches, and gain invaluable professional experience with a world leading company in poultry.

This position is part of the ChickenStress European Training Network (www.ncl.ac.uk/cbe/chickenstress), a consortium of 14 projects aimed at better understanding stress regulation and stress resilience in laying hens. The ultimate goal of the consortium is to improve the welfare of laying hens by improving genetics, early life experiences and housing environments.


The successful applicant will become an employee of Universitat de Lleida, with all benefits that are associated with this. They will receive a salary, plus a mobility allowance. If the successful applicant has a family, they are also eligible for a family allowance.

Eligibility criteria

This PhD studentship is open to people of any nationality. However, the Marie S. Curie Actions have two strict eligibility criteria for applicants to these kinds of positions:

EARLY STAGE: The applicant must be within the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of her/his research career (starting from the moment you obtain a degree that makes you eligible to study for a PhD) and not have a doctoral degree. Adjustments can be made for career breaks.

MOBILITY: The applicant must not have resided or carried out her/his main activity (e.g. work, studies) in the country where she/he has been recruited for more than 12 months in the three years immediately before the recruitment date (this is the day on which you start your PhD).

Selection process

Applications must be submitted through the website. The deadline for applications is Wednesday 15 May 2019 (midnight Brussels time). There are other positions available in this network and you can apply for up to 5 of the positions at one time. To make an application you will need:

  • Names and email addresses for 2 referees
  • Current CV
  • Transcripts of your Bachelor and Masters degree courses
  • A statement about why you are applying to the positions that you are applying to, including how you meet the Essential and Desired criteria for those positions. You are allowed to address each position separately in your statement.

In early June, shortlisted candidates will be invited to Utrecht University for a two-day recruitment event on 18-19 June 2019. Reasonable travel expenses will be covered. Candidates who cannot physically attend will be interviewed remotely. Candidates will learn more about the ChickenStress Network and the underlying science.

Web site for additional job details

Offer Requirements

    Agricultural sciences: Master Degree or equivalent
    Biological sciences: Master Degree or equivalent
    Computer science: Master Degree or equivalent
    Neurosciences: Master Degree or equivalent
    Pharmacological sciences: Master Degree or equivalent
    Mathematics: Master Degree or equivalent
    Medical sciences: Master Degree or equivalent
    ENGLISH: Excellent


Essential (every candidate should fulfil these criteria):

  • Bachelor’s degree plus Master degree (together 300 ECTS or more) in a biological science, including animal science, zoology, physiology, psychology, biomedicine
  • Good written and oral English communication skills
  • Experience in designing experiments, analysing data, presenting results

Desirable (we do not expect a candidate to fulfil all these criteria):

  • A relevant Masters degree (e.g. Neuroscience)
  • Knowledge of Spanish (or Catalan) or motivation to learn it
  • Experience working with animals, ideally chickens
  • Experience with brain dissection and immunohistochemistry, and in situ hybridization
  • Experience with bioinformatics
  • Experience with microscopy

Specific Requirements

Essential (every candidate should fulfil these criteria):

  • Basic knowledge of neuroscience
  • Proactive, problem-solving attitude
  • Ability to work well as part of a team

Desirable (we do not expect a candidate to fulfil all these criteria):

  • Knowledge of avian neuroanatomy
  • Enthusiastic about research and ability to acquire new skills
  • Interest in applications of science
  • Interest in animal welfare and poultry

Work location(s)
1 position(s) available at
Universitat de Lleida
Avenida Alcalde Rovira Roure, 80

EURAXESS offer ID: 396195


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