PhD Position in Parkinson`s Disease as a model for mechanisms of body weight regulation

The researchers in the DFG-funded Graduiertenkolleg 1957 study the effects of adipose tissue hormones on CNS function and in turn, the control of adipose tissue physiology by the brain. We are looking for highly motivated candidates for the PhD project (see title).
Tentative start: May 2020. Earlier start date could be discussed with the PIs in the interview.

Activities and responsibilities

Project Description:

Parkinson`s disease (PD) is often accompanied by significant changes of body weight depending on disease stage and concomitant therapy. Following deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the subthalamic nucleus (STN), PD patients frequently show a massive weight gain, whereas non-operated PD patients typically lose weight over the disease course. Several mechanisms must be considered when studying weight changes in PD including ongoing neurodegeneration of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra, degeneration of extranigral neurons, involvement of peripheral tissues and dopaminergic treatment. With regard to anti-Parkinsonian therapy, dopamine was shown to increase thermogenesis and mitochondrial mass in brown adipocytes. The aim of the project is to prospectively study drug-naïve PD patients and healthy controls to understand the impact of neurodegeneration and dopaminergic replacement therapy on the body weight, body composition and adipose tissue alterations.

Experimental Methods:
  • Two groups of subjects: drug-naïve PD patients and healthy controls
  • Resting and movement related energy expenditure by indirect calorimetry
  • Body composition by air displacement plethysmography
  • BAT activation by infrared thermography camera
  • Resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and neural response to food stimuli (task-related fMRI)
  • Gene expression of adipokines and metabolically relevant parameters, e.g. glycolysis, ß-oxidation, lipolysis

Qualification profile

  • Research-based master's degree or equivalent (e.g. diploma) passed with an excellent grade in biology, biochemistry, molecular life science, neuroscience, nutrition & biomedicine, pharmacology or a related subject
  • Excellent English language skills in speaking and writing
  • Pro-active attitude, good communication skills and ability to work independently in an interdisciplinary team

Send application to

GRK1957 Office, chaoqun.jiang(at)

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Über University of Lübeck

Welcome at the GRK1957 "Adipocyte-Brain Crosstalk"Our DFG funded  Graduiertenkolleg 1957  offers focused research projects and a structured training programme. In an interdisciplinary research approach we address the effects of hormones derived from adipose tissue (adipokines) on CNS function and, in turn, the control of adipose tissue and body weight by the brain. ...
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