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Environmental Conditions, Clock and Sleep

   Department of Biology

   Applications accepted all year round  Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

Our group investigates circadian clocks in mammals using mice as a model system. We are interested in the question how clocks in different tissues adjust to environmental cues and how the brain integrates this information to produce coherent systemic circadian rhythms. This is of central interest, because loss of a stable clock-phase relationship between organs is one of the characteristics found to be changed in many human diseases including depression, obesity and cancer.

Your Mission

Identify moelcular processes that respond to environmental cues such as light and food, which alter clock components in their expression and phosphorylation status. A focus will be on Period genes and proteins. We aim to understand how the Period genes are involved in the regulation of mood-related behaviours in mice and what the role of light is in this process. Light mediated clock resetting and mood-related behavioral assays will be applied accompanied by molecular analysis.

Your profile

We are looking for highly motivated, team-oriented independent thinkers. The applicant should have a Master Degree in biology, neuroscience or a related subject. Previous experience with chronobiology, molecular tools , as well as good communication skills and proficiency in English are a plus. In general, any previous specific knowledge is less important than strong motivation, enthusiasm for scientific research, problem-solving skills, and possibly a track-record of individual and team accomplishments.

We offer

We offer a stimulating, friendly and interdisciplinary work environment, with excellent working conditions (salary, resources) and frontier research projects. The Department of Biology at the University of Fribourg (Switzerland) gathers very dynamic researchers with a strong commitment toward innovation and excellence in science. It offers a stimulating and supportive environment, with an open-minded atmosphere ideal to foster synergies.

The selected candidate will also have the opportunity to interact extensively with members of the Department. In addition, she/he will also benefit from strong international collaborations. The successful PhD candidate will enrol in the Fribourg Graduate School of Medical and Life Sciences (FGLM) providing high-quality education opportunities to complement the laboratory training. In addition, PhD students will have the possibility to apply to postdoctoral fellowships from the SNF after completion of their PhD.

Start date: April 2023 or later.

Funding Notes

The positions is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation.
The position is fully funded for 3 years, with a possible 1-year extension.
Initial gross annual salary will be 47,040 CHF (~ 47,000 $/Euro).


I. Olejniczak, J.A. Ripperger, F. Sandrelli, A. Schnell, L. Manscencal-Strittmatter, K. Wendrich, K.Y. Hui, A. Brenna, N. Ben Fredj, and U. Albrecht. 'Light affects behavioral despair involving the clock gene Period 1'. PLoS Genet., 17(7): e1009625, 2021.
T. Martini, J. A. Ripperger, J. Stalin, A. Kores, M. Stumpe, and U. Albrecht. 'Deletion of the clock gene Period2 (Per2) in glial cells alters mood-related behavior in mice'. Sci. Rep., 11:12242, 2021.

C.R. Cederroth, U. Albrecht, J. Bass, S.A. Brown, J. Dyhrfjeld-Johnsen, F. Gachon, C.B. Green, M.H. Hastings, C. Helfrich-Förster, J. B. Hogenesch, F. Lévi, A. Loudon, G.B. Lundkvist, J. H. Meijer, M. Rosbash, J.S. Takahashi, M. Young, and B. Canlon. ‘Medicine in the fourth dimension’. Cell Metabol., 30: 238-250, 2019.

U. Albrecht, J.A. Ripperger. "Circadian Clocks and Sleep: Impact of Rhythmic Metabolism and Waste Clearance on the Brain". Cell Press, 41: 677-688, 2018.

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