Molecular pharmacology of depression

Can sterol-like modulate the function of a target for antidepressants?

Research area to investigate

The serotonin transporter is a key protein in regulating serotonergic neurotransmission, which is important to mood and depression. We have shown that cholesterol binds to the serotonin transporter and modulates the function and pharmacology of the transporter. The interplay between cholesterol and the serotonin transporter provides an important context to understand how the serotonin transporter may be activated in the synapse and how cholesterol levels and antidepressant potency might be intertwined.

A multitude of cholesterol-like compounds are produced in the body or ingested. It is possible that similar compounds to cholesterol, either endogenous or exogenous, may have similar effects on the serotonin transporter or may be able to block the effects of cholesterol.
We wish to understand how cholesterol-like compounds circulating in the body or ingested could affect mood and depression treatment.
We aim to utilize biochemical assays for serotonin transporter conformations, pharmacology and function in combination with lipidomic approaches to delineate the action of cholesterol-like compounds on serotonin transporter function.

Our new MSCA Postdoctoral Fellow should have these skills

Our new MSCA Postdoctoral Fellow should have proven skills in one or more of the following:

  • Mass spectrometry, preferably lipidomics
  • Activity and/or binding assays for membrane proteins
  • Team-oriented mindset
  • Strong communication skills in English

Host group expertise

  • Individualized supervision
  • Multidisciplinary research
  • Molecular pharmacology assays (radioisotope and fluorescence) for membrane transporter function and ligand binding
  • Cell culture
  • Molecular biology (mutagenesis, cloning, PCR etc)
  • Mutational analysis

Host department

Host supervisor

Are you interested?

Send your resume and a short description of your motivation for this project to the host supervisor before 31 March 2023.

The application process

Provisional timeline

  • 31 March 2023: Deadline for international postdocs’ enquiries concerning the published project description.
  • Mid-April 2023: The supervisor selects an applicant. 
  • 2 May 2023: Online workshop with writing consultants - supervisor and applicant start to write an application together.
  • June-July 2023: Online meeting between writing consultants, the supervisor and the applicant.
  • Mid-September 2023: EU deadline for applications to the MSCA programme. 
  • February 2024: The European Commission announces the recipients of the MSCA grants, with start in summer 2024.