Doctoral students with an Interest in Healthy Brain, Aging and Dementia Prevention

University of Calgary logoOpportunities: The Brain in Motion research program is looking for doctoral students with an interest in healthy brain aging and dementia prevention who wish to join a large interdisciplinary and diverse research team of over 35 scientists from Calgary, Canada and other parts of the World. There are opportunities currently available for doctoral students in neurosciences, physiological sciences, psychology and kinesiology in several areas related to this research program. Four-year doctoral stipend support is available via matching funding models, through application in March 2023, at the University of Calgary. Below you will find the thematic areas, the Brain in Motion protocol, the timeline for this opportunity, and contact information for more details.

Thematic areas within the program of research

  • Cognitive function (executive function, complex attention, processing speed, verbal memory, overall cognition), exercise and aging
  • Biomarkers (vascular, neuroendocrine, inflammation)
  • Proteomics, lipidomics, metabolomics
  • Genetics (genetic variants related to ADRD, neuronal integrity, growth factors and clearance enzymes, lipid and vascular function modulators)
  • Neuroimaging
  • Sleep and novel biomarkers of cognitive decline
  • Maintenance of health behavior
  • Role of lifestyle factors on cognitive function
  • Machine learning and artificial intelligence
  • Healthcare system costs and quality of life measures
  • Exercise physiology
  • Sex and gender differences

Summary of Brain in Motion

Background: There remains no effective intervention capable of reversing most cases of dementia. Current research is focused on prevention by addressing risk factors that are shared between cardiovascular disease and dementia (e.g., hypertension) before the cognitive, functional, and behavioural symptoms of dementia manifest. A promising preventive treatment is exercise. This study describes the methods of a randomized controlled trial (RCT) that assesses the effects of aerobic exercise and behavioural support interventions in older adults at increased risk of dementia due to genetic and/or cardiovascular risk factors. The specific aims are to determine the effect of aerobic exercise on cognitive performance, explore the biological mechanisms that influence cognitive performance after exercise training, and determine if changes in cerebrovascular physiology and function persist one year after a 6-month aerobic exercise intervention followed by a 1-year behavioural support program (at 18 months).

Methods: We will recruit 264 participants (aged 50-80 years) at elevated risk of dementia. Participants will be randomly allocated into one of four treatment arms: (1) aerobic exercise and health behaviour support, (2) aerobic exercise and no health behaviour support, (3) stretching-toning and health behaviour support, and (4) stretching-toning and no health behaviour support. The aerobic exercise intervention will consist of three supervised walking/jogging sessions per week for 6 months, whereas the stretching-toning control intervention will consist of three supervised stretching-toning sessions per week also for 6 months. Following the exercise interventions, participants will receive either one year of ongoing telephone behavioural support or no telephone support. The primary aim is to determine the independent effect of aerobic exercise on a cognitive composite score in participants allocated to this intervention compared to participants allocated to the stretching-toning group. Secondary aims are to examine the effects of aerobic exercise on a number of secondary outcomes and determine whether aerobic exercise-related changes persist after a one-year behavioural support program (at 18 months).

Significance: This study will address knowledge gaps regarding the underlying mechanisms of the pro-cognitive effects of exercise by examining potential mediating factors, including cerebrovascular/physiological, neuroimaging, sleep, and genetic factors that will provide novel biologic evidence on how aerobic exercise can prevent declines in cognition with aging. Trial Registration: (NCT03035851); protocol paper published (Kruger et al., 2021).

Timeline for these opportunities:

By December 15, 2022– Deadline for prospective students to submit i) a letter of interest, ii) a curriculum vitae, iii) a list of publications and awards, and iv) the names of 3 referees who have agreed to be contacted to Prospective supervisors, co-supervisors and doctoral students will complete the application process for matching funds with support from the Brain in Motion team. The start date for the doctoral program will be between May – September 2023.

Contact information

For more details please contact:

Dr. Marc Poulin, Lead Investigator for the Brain in Motion team
Department of Physiology & Pharmacology
Cumming School of Medicine
University of Calgary
Calgary, Alberta


Post Doc Position-Neurotrophic mechanisms in brain diseases – Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto

Reduced brain cell structure and function contributes to cognitive symptoms in depression, Alzheimer’s disease and other brain disorders, and during aging. Current efforts aimed at developing therapeutic agents to reverse these deficits focus on excitatory or neurotrophic mechanisms, but have had limited translation to effective therapeutics potential, identifying a world-leading unmet clinical need with significant impact on patients, family, society and healthcare.

The Neurobiology of Depression and Aging program ( is seeking a postdoctoral fellow to investigate the cellular mechanisms of novel neurotrophic approaches, using cell-based and rodent models. The NDA program investigates the molecular bases of psychiatric disorders and develop novel therapeutic avenues. It is located at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), Canada’s largest mental health and addiction teaching hospital. CAMH is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.


The candidate will have a PhD in Neuroscience, Neuropharmacology or a related discipline, with demonstrated expertise in molecular neuroscience, including primary neuron culture and in vivo rodent models. Experience with methods related to molecular biology (plasmid DNA handling, qPCR, Western blot, proteome analysis, recombinant virus handling etc.), pharmacology, immunohistochemistry and imaging (confocal microscopy, morphometric analysis) is preferred.
The successful candidate will have a track record that demonstrates competence in publishing in high impact peer reviewed journals, disseminating research at formal scientific meetings, writing grant proposals and participation in the education of students and trainees. The successful candidate will also possess strong interpersonal, organizational and communication skill, and the ability to work both independently and in a team. The ability to interact with populations of diverse ethno-racial and cultural backgrounds is also required.

Please note: This full-time position is NOT part of any bargaining unit.

Salary Range: Competitive Salary

Contact information

Send your application with cover letter and CV to:

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Posting end date: 2022/10/21

ERC-funded project: neural control of locomotion before and after spinal cord injury in salamanders – Post-doc position

PROJECT: Salamanders can swim underwater and walk on ground. Their spinal cord regenerates after a full transection and the animal recovers voluntary locomotion after a few weeks. How this occurs is largely unknown. Genetic dissection of salamander neural circuits is now feasible with methods for manipulation, elimination, and visualization of genetically-defined cells. Such approaches can be combined with patch-clamp electrophysiology, calcium imaging, optogenetics, tracing and movement analysis (Ryczko et al. 2020 Trends in Neurosciences, The candidate will use electrophysiology, calcium imaging and movement analysis based on deep learning and neuroanatomy to study salamander locomotor circuits. This project is funded by a synergy grant of the ERC. The work will be carried out in collaboration with a team of modelers and roboticists (Pr. Ijspeert, EPFL, Switzerland) and experts in genomics (Pr. Simon, Karolinska Institute, Sweden).

REQUIREMENTS: The candidate should have completed a PhD in neuroscience. The ideal candidate would have experience in patch-clamp electrophysiology, calcium imaging, optogenetics, virus injections, deep learning-based movement analysis, or matlab scripting, and a keen interest in motor control.

HOST LABORATORY: The lab of Dr. Ryczko ( has expertise in the neural control of locomotion and publishes in excellent journals (PNAS, Science Robotics, Journal of Neuroscience…). The lab receives grant support by the CIHR, NSERC, FRQS, CFI and ERC. We are equipped for patch-clamp recordings, confocal and two photon calcium imaging, optogenetics, viral injections, deep learning-based movement analysis, and microscopy (confocal, light-sheet, two-photon, STED).

APPLY: Candidates should send a letter of interest explaining how they would fit, a CV, a record of their academic results and three references at: Please mention where you found the job post.

Postdoctoral positions available in neuroimmunology in Calgary, Canada

The laboratory of Dr. Wee Yong (Pubmed: Yong VW or Wee Yong V) at the University of Calgary is recruiting postdoctoral fellows in neuroimmunology. The successful candidate is recently graduated or about to finish a PhD program. Available are several projects on the roles and mechanisms of neuroimmunology in mediating injury or recovery in multiple sclerosis. Please send your resume to Calgary offers a world-class neuroscience program and superb indoor/outdoor activities.

Contact information:

Wee Yong

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Post-doctoral fellow positions – Vulnerable Brain Lab at Western University

The Vulnerable Brain Laboratory (, in the Dept. Anatomy and Cell Biology at Western University is a cross-disciplinary, translational lab interested in interrogating the role of microglia activation in aging and disease/injury. We are currently recruiting 1-2 post-doctoral fellows with interests developing assays aimed at using circulating brain extracellular vesicles as a diagnostic tool for measuring brain inflammation and cognitive impairment in cell, experimental animal, and human samples. Additionally, we are searching for candidates with interests in extracellular vesicle trafficking and release, and proteomic/lipidomic analysis of extracellular vesicles and their cargo.

Previous experience some of the following is preferred: rodent based stroke models, cell culture, rodent behaviour, molecular biology, microscopy, histology, and mass spectrometry, including mass spectrometry imaging.

Western University is strongly committed to principles related to equity, diversity, inclusion, and decolonization (EDID). We encourage applications from all qualified candidates, including women, members of visible minorities, Aboriginal persons, members of sexual minorities and persons with disabilities.

Contact information

Please send a cover letter, CV, and a list of 3 references to Dr. Shawn Whitehead ( We will notify applicants prior to contacting references.


Postdoc and graduate students (Master’s and/or Ph.D. levels) positions at intersection of AI and Neuroscience – University of Lethbridge

Description: We are looking for postdocs and graduate students (Master’s and/or Ph.D. levels) to use inspirations from neuroscience to make better AI and conversely to apply AI to better understand brain function and behaviour. Projects will be related to our recent work:

Neurons learn by predicting future activity. Nature Machine Intelligence 2022

Predictive neuronal adaptation as a basis for consciousness. Front in Sys Neurosci 2022

Miniaturized head-mounted microscope for whole-cortex mesoscale imaging in freely behaving mice. Nature Methods 2021

A Matlab-based toolbox for characterizing behavior of rodents engaged in string-pulling. Elife 2020

Challenges of a small world analysis for the continuous monitoring of behavior in mice. Neuroscience and Behavioral Reviews 2022

Data-driven analyses of motor impairments in animal models of neurological disorders. PLoS Biology 2019

The project is a collaborative effort between the research groups of Majid Mohajerani ( and Artur Luczak ( Successful candidates will join the highly collaborative and interdisciplinary Canadian Centre for Behavioural Neuroscience and Brain Dynamics group. We are located close to Rocky Mountains, Lethbridge has the largest number of sunny days in Canada, and it is the most affordable city for young people in Canada ( ).

The applications review will start on Aug 15th till the positions are filled. Interested applicants must send an email to Dr Mohajerani ( and Dr. Luczak ( and include a cover letter, curriculum vitae, a brief statement of research interests, and contact information of three references.

Postdoctoral positions in Systems Neuroscience-University of Calgary

The Sargin lab at the University of Calgary is seeking motivated scientists with experience and interest in Neurophysiology and Systems Neuroscience. The goal of our research program is to understand the long-term effects of early life stress on brain function. We have fully-funded two postdoctoral positions available to start immediately. The projects will focus on 1) the activity of neural circuits in mouse models with social deficits and 2) serotonin physiology in mouse models of Alzheimer’s Disease. We use a variety of multidisciplinary techniques including stereotaxic viral delivery, slice electrophysiology, in vivo calcium imaging, optogenetics and behavior.

Ideal candidates will have a PhD in Neuroscience, Physiology or related fields and experience with patch clamp electrophysiology. Strong background in neuroscience or physiology is required. Experience with photometry or optogenetics and mouse behavior is advantageous.

Dr. Sargin’s research group is a part of the Department of Psychology, Hotchkiss Brain Institute, Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute and the Mathison Centre for Mental Health Research and Education. Our group is in a highly collaborative, interdisciplinary and international research environment that provides opportunities to develop new skills and collaborations. Our lab, department and university are committed to fostering and enhancing diversity, equity and inclusion. We welcome all applicants of diverse backgrounds.

To apply, please send a cover letter describing research background and interests along with a CV to Dr. Derya Sargin at

Contact information

Posting end date


Postdoctoral Fellow – Behavioral Neuroscience/Drug Discovery, University of Toronto

The Martin Lab ( in the Department of Psychology at the University of Toronto is recruiting a full-time postdoctoral fellow in the area of Behavioral Neuroscience to screen novel small molecule therapies based on psychedelics and related compounds for mental health disorders. Initial experiments will require the candidate to establish an automated head-twitch detection system to assess novel compounds aimed at the serotonin 5-HT2A receptor. The laboratory has an extensive global network of academic, industrial, and governmental collaborators. Our group offers a highly dynamic, collaborative, innovative research environment with state-of-the-art technology and instruments.

This position is in partnership with Dalriada Drug Discovery (, a small molecule drug discovery company supporting global innovators through its TURN-KEY™ model. With all R&D operations in Mississauga, Canada, Dalriada has built expert teams in MedChem, Biology and ADME to allow for the most rapid project advancements and value building.

Job description

There is a significant opportunity for improved next-generation therapies to address mental health disorders. The past several years have yielded a massive amount of preclinical and clinical knowledge regarding using psychedelic and related compounds to treat these disorders. There is a significant opportunity to deliver enhanced small molecule therapies building on the existing and emerging knowledge of psychedelics’ mechanism of action. The successful candidate will develop and lead a research project that tests the biological effects of novel small molecule therapeutics based on psychedelics.


Position start date: Immediately

Job site: University of Toronto, 3359 Mississauga Rd, Mississauga, Ontario L5L 1C6

Status: Full-time, 12-24 months contract


Desired Skills and experience

The candidate should have completed their Ph.D. degree in Behavioral Neuroscience, Biology, Psychology, Pharmacology, or a related discipline. The successful candidate will be a highly motivated, goal-oriented and self-driven individual ready to work independently and in a team environment. The ideal candidate has experience using rodent models to support preclinical development and screening of drug candidates.



  • Ph.D. in Behavioral Neuroscience, Biology, Psychology, Pharmacology, or related discipline.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Comprehensive and up-to-date knowledge of neuroscience with a background in receptor pharmacology
  • Collection, analysis and interpretation of data sets and proposal of follow-up experiments based on data trends
  • Troubleshoot and optimize automated behavioural analyses. Familiarity with DeepLabCut or a similar platform would be an asset but is unnecessary.
  • Track record of academic excellence
  • Strong skills in written and oral communication
  • Ability to work effectively independently and as a team member is a prerequisite.

Interested candidates are asked to submit a CV and a cover letter to with the subject line “Martin-Dalriada Postdoctoral Fellowship application.”

Interviews will be conducted on a rolling basis. Please apply by September 1, 2022. Only successful applicants will be contacted for an interview.

This position is open to Canadian citizens, Permanent Residents and International Applicants.

The University of Toronto is an equal opportunity employer, and we are committed to achieving accessibility by providing accommodation for people with disabilities during our hiring process. Accommodation is available on request for qualified candidates during the recruitment process.

Contact information

Loren Martin, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, University of Toronto Mississauga
Canada Research Chair in Translational Pain Research
Department of Psychology, CCT Building, Room 4061
3359 Mississauga Rd, Mississauga, ON, L5L 1C6
PH (office): 905-569-5784, PH (lab): 905-828-3785,
Web:, Email:

Postdoctoral Position in Neurobiology of Pain, McGill University

A postdoctoral position is available in the Alan Edwards Pain Management Unit and the Alan Edwards Centre for Research on Pain (AECRP) at McGill University under the supervision of Drs. Yoram Shir and Arkady Khoutorsky. We are looking for an independent and motivated researcher to work on multiple projects related to the role of the gut microbiome in different chronic pain conditions. The projects involve both clinical and basic science approaches, with the goal to characterize changes in the gut microbiome in chronic pain in humans, investigate the role of these changes in mediating pain and related co-morbidities, and develop strategies targeting the microbiome to alleviate pain. More details can be found here:, and .

The AECRP at McGill University hosts numerous clinical and basis science researchers covering a wide range of interests and expertise in the field of pain and creating a highly stimulating environment. Montreal is a vibrant, cosmopolitan, and affordable city with one of the strongest neuroscience communities in North America.

Highly motivated and independent individuals with a solid publication record are encouraged to apply. Priority will be given to candidates with experience in pain and/or microbiome research. The position would involve work on several basic science and clinical projects as part of a multidisciplinary team. Strong interpersonal, communication, and organizational skills are required.

Interested candidates should send a letter of interest, a CV, and names & contact information of at least two referees to,

Postdoctoral or Research Associate position available — University of Toronto

The Martin Lab ( in the Department of Psychology at the University of Toronto has a postdoctoral position available for an independent, highly motivated, and enthusiastic individual to study the synaptic basis and circuits of complex behaviour. The successful candidate will join a vibrant, highly collaborative, dynamic well-funded laboratory located on the Mississauga Campus of the University of Toronto.

The long-term objectives of our lab are to study and understand the endogenous mechanisms of pain modulation by social and cognitive factors. We are especially interested in the associations formed during the pain experience and use classical conditioning approaches to understand the learning mechanisms of pain sensitivity and pain relief as well as the contribution of fear to pain processing (Martin et al., 2019, Curr Biol). The candidate will use a combination of viral tract tracing, electrophysiology, and optical techniques to identify the cellular and circuit mechanisms that control pain following conditioning to noxious stimuli and analgesic drugs.

Qualified postdoctoral candidates should have experience with mouse models, viral vectors, in vitro (patch-clamp) electrophysiological techniques, in vivo optogenetics or fibre photometry. Experience with molecular biology and/or immunohistochemistry are strong assets. Strong background in R language and using R packages to analyze connectome data. Familiarity with Python/MATLAB for spike and waveform analysis is also advantageous.

To apply, please send a brief statement of research interests, CV, and contact information for 3 references to
Contact information Loren J. Martin, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, University of Toronto Mississauga
Tier II Canada Research Chair in Translational Pain Research
Department of Psychology, CCT Building, Room 4065
3359 Mississauga Rd, Mississauga, ON, L5L 1C6