PhD student position on Early Life Programming Effects
Institute of Behavioural Physiology, FBN
We are looking for a highly motivated doctoral student to join our DFG-funded project (MO 4011/1-1; GI 413/4-1) entitled: ‘Programming effects of maternal stress during lactation: Investigating offspring neuroendocrine, behavioral and immunological responses to early life adversity in a pig model.’ Our project will investigate how maternal behavioral, immunological and physiological parameters interact to influence offspring development, using a pig model. Your role will be to analyze physiological and behavioral measures to characterize phenotypes of offspring with different early life experiences. For the physiological analyses, you will measure the stress hormone cortisol and the neuropeptide hormone oxytocin in sows and their offspring under baseline conditions and in response to specific events, including maternal separations and reunions. Behavioral analyses will be based on the coding of video observations of lactating mothers and their offspring, including nursing behavior and responses to separations and reunions. You will also analyze behavior of the offspring after weaning, to test how different early maternal environments influence later social competence. Your research will provide new insights into how early life experiences influence hormonal systems that are important for stress regulation and social support.
We are seeking a candidate with previous experience and interest in behavioral physiology, who would like to gain new laboratory skills and who can work well as a part of a team. The ideal candidate will have a Master’s degree or equivalent in a life science-related discipline, previous laboratory experience and strong communicative skills, including fluency in spoken and written English. German language proficiency, statistical training and knowledge of the R programming language would also be helpful.