Postdoctoral Researcher in Brain Imaging Genomics

Post Doc
Language and Genetics

A 3-year postdoctoral position in Brain Imaging Genomics is available within the Language & Genetics Department at the Max Planck Institute, Nijmegen, the Netherlands.

Job description

A 3-year postdoctoral position in Brain Imaging Genomics is available within the Language & Genetics Department at the Max Planck Institute, Nijmegen, the Netherlands. The role will be to study the genetic basis of variability in brain anatomy and function. Identifying specific genes and genetic pathways can be aided by the interrogation of very large datasets. Projects will variously involve structural or resting-state functional brain MRI data from tens of thousands of participants, genome-wide genotype or sequence data, transcriptomic data, publically available bioinformatics databases and resources, meta-analysis, and genetic epidemiological methods. Some consortium-based studies may involve case-control designs to characterize brain anatomy in psychiatric disorders. Specific projects will be discussed at interview, but the successful candidate will also be prepared to adapt flexibly as new projects become available. For projects on which you lead the analysis, you will also draft the write-up for publication as first author, and give presentations at international conferences.


You are a research scientist who holds, or shortly expects to obtain, a PhD in a field that has given you hands-on knowledge of brain MRI data processing and analysis. Your expertise in neuroimaging will complement the genetics expertise of other members of the department. You will be proficient in coding/scripting, as well as implementing existing MRI data analysis pipelines. Some knowledge of complex trait genetic analysis would be an advantage, but not essential. You have a critical and careful approach to data processing and analysis, and are able to scale up processes to run on very large datasets, while also being mindful of quality control. You will be keen to learn and involve yourself in the ongoing research of the department more generally, which is focused on genetics of the neuron, brain, behaviour and cognition. You are proficient at organizing and writing scientific documents describing your work.

Conditions of employment

The position is available from January 2020, although later starts during the first half of 2020 are possible. The term of appointment is full-time (39 hours per week) for three years. Although located in the Netherlands, the institute is part of the Max Planck Society, an independent non-governmental association of German-funded research institutes dedicated to fundamental research in the natural sciences, life sciences, social sciences, and the humanities. The salary is according to the German TVöD (Tarifvertrag für den öffentlichen Dienst) and is classified in salary group E13, between EUR 51,797 and 75,724 gross per year depending on the experience of the applicant (including 8% holiday bonus), based on full-time employment. Scientists in the Netherlands report among the highest job satisfaction ratings of any in the world.  The Max Planck Society is an equal opportunity employer. Applications from women, people with disabilities and under-represented groups are particularly encouraged.

The department

The Language and Genetics Department is led by Simon E. Fisher, co-discoverer of FOXP2, the first gene to be implicated in a speech and language disorder. The department is located within the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, situated on the campus of the Radboud University Nijmegen, with close collaborative links with experts in neuroimaging at the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour at Radboud University. The department also has extensive and multidisciplinary interactions with other expert departments of the MPI, and the Human Genetics Department of Radboud University, as well as networks of international collaborators. Our research aims to bridge the gaps between genes, brains, speech and language. We use the latest molecular technologies and analytic methods to integrate molecular genetics with cell biology, human neuroimaging, and experimental psychology. Our on-going research is described here: .

How to apply

Applications should include:

  1.    2-page statement of interest, including motivation behind applying and specific explanation of how the applicant’s skills fit the requirements of the position
  2.    CV
  3.    List of publications
  4.    Names, email addresses and contact numbers of at least two referees who would be willing to provide letters of recommendation

Send applications or enquiries to Martina Bernhard (secretary), e-mail:

The deadline for applications is October 8th 2019.

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