Post Doc

Optical Control of Axon Guidance |  1.0 FTE

About this position

A Postdoctoral Researcher position is available in the Carroll and van Haren labs, in the Departments of Imaging Physics (TU Delft) and Cell Biology (Erasmus MC). This collaborative postdoctoral project aims at deciphering the molecular mechanisms that underpin directional decision making of neuronal growth cones, and to develop optogenetic tools and light patterning techniques that allow for precise spatiotemporal control of neuronal outgrowth in vitro and in a living animal. The van Haren lab (Erasmus MC) studies the molecular mechanisms that control cell guidance and migration and specializes in the development and implementation of optogenetic switch modules to manipulate cell dynamics with great spatiotemporal resolution. The Carroll lab (TU Delft) works at the interface of optical physics and neuroscience, developing instrumentation for high-resolution light sheet microscopy and optogenetics.
In this project we will investigate mechanisms of axon guidance in the larval zebrafish model, and in iPSC derived human neurons. We will combine newly designed optogenetic switch modules to control aspects of the neuronal guidance machinery in the van Haren group, and advanced light patterning techniques developed in the Carroll lab to control such optogenetic switch modules precisely in 3D in living zebrafish embryos. This project aims at 1) perturbing/activating specific guidance pathways in neuronal growth cones to gain an understanding of guidance pathway crosstalk and integration, and 2) to direct growth cone migration towards specific targets, to restore specific connections lost in zebrafish mutants with neuronal guidance defects. Our work encompasses a wide range of techniques including novel optogenetic perturbation techniques, advanced 3D live cell microscopy, CRISPR, micropatterning and protein engineering.
As a postdoc working on this project you will bridge the expertise of the Carroll and van Haren teams to push the boundaries of advanced cell control in zebrafish. Knowledge gained from these studies will improve our understanding of neurodevelopmental (neuron migration and/ or guidance) disorders, could aid regenerative medicine, and help advance cell patterning in an organ-on-chip setting. Your responsibilities will include co-designing and performing experiments, analyzing data, and in collaboration with Dr. Carroll and Dr. van Haren write research papers, book chapters and reviews. Furthermore, your responsibilities include reporting results in lab meetings, meetings of Academic Centers and departmental meetings, and at (inter-)national conferences.


  • The successful candidate will have recently completed a PhD in cell biology, biophysics, neuroscience, developmental biology, or related quantitative discipline, and have significant experimental experience with fluorescence imaging and image analysis.
  • Excellent communication skills, proficiency in English and strong work ethics.
  • Ability to work independently as well as in a team.
  • Expected to be ambitious, critical thinkers who take responsibility for their projects in a supportive, collaborative, and open culture.
  • The successful applicant will be part of two ambitious research groups, that aim to create a professional, creative, and productive atmosphere. We value diversity, collaboration, and enthusiasm.
  • Experience in working with zebrafish, and/or culturing iPSCs, molecular biology and live cell microscopy is a plus.
  • Programming skills in Python or similar language are a plus.
  • Proof of PhD diploma and ability to gain work authorization in the EU are conditions of appointment.

About this Flagship

The Flagship CIFIC aims to create a convergent Imaging Facility and Innovation Center (CIFIC) that accelerates the pace of innovation and application in bio-imaging and microscopy. Advanced microscopy is essential for scientific research on a variety of complex diseases such as cancer and neurological disorders. The more closely biomedical scientists are able zoom in on the minute details of cells and molecules, the better they can understand the underlying mechanisms, and ultimately develop treatments. In other words, advanced microscopy is essential to biomedical research. At present, however, there is a significant gap between the worlds of biomedical research and the technological development of microscopes, hampering and slowing down innovation.

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The Postdoc will be formally employed by the van Haren lab at Erasmus MC, and the project will be carried out in a tight collaboration with the Carroll lab at TU Delft.

About the Erasmus MC
A healthy population and excellence in healthcare through research and education. This is what Erasmus MC stands for. Conducting groundbreaking work, pushing boundaries and leading the way. In research, education, and healthcare. We are practical people with a high level of expertise, working hard to improve and renew the healthcare of today and the public health of tomorrow. The Department of Cell Biology is embedded in a dynamic, internationally competitive research community of over 40 biomedical research labs within the Erasmus MC. The Department of Cell Biology has access to state-of-the-art genomics/proteomics/ and imaging technology. The main language of the research community is English.

About the TU Delft
As creators of the world-famous Dutch waterworks and pioneers in biotech, TU Delft is a top international university combining science, engineering, and design. We deliver world class results in education, research and innovation to address challenges in the areas of energy, climate, mobility, health and digital society. The Faculty of Applied Sciences is the largest faculty of Delft University of Technology (TU Delft), with around 550 scientists, a support staff of 250 and 1,800 students. Embedded in Applied Sciences, the Department of Imaging Physics specializes in imaging science and technologies, developing instrumentation and methods for light microscopy, electron microscopy, and medical imaging modalities

What we offer

  • This a shared postdoctoral position and will require working at both the Erasmus MC and TU Delft.
  • The initial contract will be for a temporary position for 2 years, with the possibility for extension.
  • The gross monthly salary amounts to € 3681,- (schaal 10, trede 3), and is based on a full-time working week of 36 hours.
  • The terms of employment are according to the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch University Medical Centers (CAO UMC).
  • Expected start-date: before April 1st, 2023.

About Convergence

The pressing and complex social challenges of our time call for convergence; crossing boundaries between institutions and disciplines to create new perspectives and solutions. For this reason TU Delft, Erasmus MC and Erasmus University Rotterdam are joining forces in Convergence. Within the convergence theme Health & Technology we form new frameworks that promote scientific discoveries and technological innovation in health and healthcare. We do this by working on groundbreaking research and innovation bundled in 10 international leading research flagships.

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Additional information

For more information about this position, please contact Dr. E.C.M. Carroll, phone: +31 (0)15-2787596, e-mail:, or Dr. J. van Haren, phone +31 (0)1070 34609, e-mail:

Apply for this position

Are you interested in this vacancy? Please apply before 24 February 2023 by sending a detailed CV along with a cover letter and a list of at least 2 references to: