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Post-doctoral Research Fellow

School of Biosciences, University of Birmingham
Birmingham (UK)
Commensurate with education and experience
Closing date
Oct 2, 2022

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School of Biosciences, University of Birmingham, UK

Post-doctoral Research Fellow “Molecular Switch from Structural Brain Plasticity to Neurodegeneration”.

Grade 7 for 36 months, salary range Grade 7 £31,406 to £33,309    

Job Reference: 98710


A Research Fellow is sought to investigate molecular mechanisms underlying structural brain plasticity and neurodegeneration. The aim of this project is to investigate what causes Toll signalling to switch between promoting generative structural change in the brain (cell survival, proliferation, neurite growth) to promoting degeneration (cell death, cell cycle arrest, neurite retraction) (Foldi et al 2017 J Cell Biol 216, 1421; Li et al 2020 eLife 9:e52743). Candidate mechanisms will be tested in vitro, cell culture and in vivo, with the aim to link evidence from molecular biology, protein biochemistry and cell biology. This project will use the fruit-fly Drosophila as a model organism. It will require mastering methods in molecular biology, cell culture, protein biochemistry, Drosophila genetics, in vivo cell biology and laser scanning confocal microscopy.


This project is integrated into a larger project involving two other postdocs, within a Wellcome Trust funded research programme led by Professor A Hidalgo into “A molecular switch between structural brain plasticity and neurodegeneration”. It builds on our findings on Drosophila neurotrophins and their Toll and Trk-like Kek receptors, to test the hypothesis that a molecular switch can modify the brain from experience-dependent structural plasticity to neurodegeneration. With Drosophila, we will discover fundamental principles on how the brain works, how it changes throughout life and how to promote brain health. Our discoveries will reveal cellular and molecular mechanisms underpinning adaptation, learning and memory, the structural basis of mental health and neurodegeneration.


Design, plan and execute experiments to generate data for the project and analyse and interpret data.


Collect research data through a variety of research methods, including scientific experimentation and keeping up with the relevant literature.


First degree in Biochemistry, Biology, Genetics, Neuroscience or related Life Sciences disciplines and a PhD (or close to completion) in Biochemistry, Biology, Genetics, Neuroscience or related Life Sciences disciplines and/or equivalent research experience, are required.


For informal enquiries contact Professor Alicia Hidalgo at and +00 44 (0)121 414 54 16.




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Application closing date:  2nd October 2022        

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