Postdoctoral position i neurobiology

A position as post-doctoral researcher (post-doc) is available in professor Åsa Mackenzie´s laboratory where we work with neurocircuitry analysis of the basal ganglia and associated structures. We use viral-genetic, histological and molecular biological methods (including transcriptomics) in rodents to analyze the neuronal building blocks of the basal ganglia with great precision. We also use transgenics and optogenetics methodology to stimulate and inhibit distinct nerve cells and assess activity, both on the neuronal and whole organism level (including behavior analysis). Our goal is to increase current understanding of the basal ganglia in motor and non-motor functions (including aversive and depressive states) in normal conditions and in Parkinson´s disease.

We are now recruiting a well-motivated, knowledgeable postdoc who is eager to perform advanced laboratory analyses and to actively participate in our group´s work towards increased knowledge of the brain´s complex neuronal circuits.

Deadline: May 25, 2022 OBS updated!

Read more at:

New publication:

Improving well-being and survival in the 6-OHDA lesion model of Parkinson´s disease in mice: Literature review and step-by-step protocol


Adriane Guillaumin, Bianca Vicek & Åsa Wallén-Mackenzie


Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the most common neurodegenerative motor disorder and primarily affects movement control but also a range of non-motor functions. With unknown etiology and lack of cure, much research is dedicated to unravel pathological mechanisms and improve clinical prospects for symptom alleviation, prevention and treatment. To achieve these goals, animal models intended to represent symptoms similar to those observed in the complex clinical display of PD play a key role. It is important to bear in mind that, in any studies with laboratory animals, it is crucial to take the 3Rs principle (Refine, Reduce, Replace) into account. The main pathology of PD includes degeneration of dopamine neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNc). The 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) lesion model, in which dopaminergic neurons are chemically destroyed, is often favored as a laboratory model of PD in both rodents and primates. However, while reproducing several features of clinical PD, mice exposed to 6-OHDA frequently experience systemic dysfunction causing premature death. To avoid suffering and unnecessary deaths of laboratory mice, there is a need for improved experimental protocols in accordance with the 3Rs principle. Based on current literature and our own previous experiments, we decided to test the effect of three parameters: 1) reduced dose of the 6-OHDA toxin; 2) daily post-operative care to avoid hypothermia and energy loss; 3) shortened interval from surgical injection of toxin to time of sacrifice. 

By implementing a 6-OHDA lesion protocol using a lower dose of toxin than commonly seen in the literature alongside careful post-operative care and decreased time post-injection, a fully recovered weight post-surgery and high survival rate was obtained. This was achieved despite full expression of the 6-OHDA-induced locomotor phenotype.  A step-by-step protocol was formulated. Validation using histological analysis confirmed toxin-induced degeneration of midbrain dopamine neurons with concomitant loss of dopaminergic projections in the lesioned hemisphere. Notably, while SNc dopamine neurons were drastically reduced, those located in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) were less affected in a medialhigh survival to laterallow survival manner.

The Refine and Reduce parameters of the 3Rs principle in experimental animal welfare were specifically addressed which allowed us to improve well-being and survival of mice while maintaining characteristic parkinsonian features in the 6-OHDA lesion model. A table summarizing current literature on the 6-OHDA model in rodents as well as our validated step-by-step experimental protocol is provided.


Open postdoc positions

Umeå University has 2 open postdoc positions

Postdoctor in Integrative Neurophysiology
– With a focus on data analyses
– With a focus on physiological recordings of brain activity in behaving animals

Deadline for both positions: April 15.

For more information, please contact Associate Professor Per Petersson, e-mail:, Department of Integrative Medical Biology, Umeå University.

Honorary Members

We are super proud to welcome Professor Ann Graybiel from McGovern Institute, MIT and Professor Hagai Bergman from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem as Honorary Members of SWEBAGS.

New transnational collaboration to target circuit dysfunctions in Parkinson´s disease

A large collaborative project focused on understanding and treating dysfunctions of cortico-basal ganglia circuits in Parkinson´s disease (PD) has been awarded 35 million DKK from the Lundbeck Foundation. Angela Cenci Nilsson, coordinator of MultiPark, leads one of the three included research teams. Her group, the Basal ganglia pathophysiology, will conduct studies in animal models providing a basis for the development of novel approaches to non-invasive circuit modulation. Read more here

SWEBAGS conference and membership meeting

– Save the date and call for participation 

The 17th of December SWEBAGS will organize a one day Conference “Basal ganglia-disinhibited ” in conjunction with our membership meeting. Due to uncertainties with the covid situation, we will host this event online this year and hope we can start meeting again in-person next year. Please mark this day in your calendars and join us for an interesting day with posters, presentations and keynote lectures. We welcome you all to prepare abstracts for submissions for oral presentation or posters. The deadline for submissions is 30th of September and more information will be available at our website later on. 

More information and link for submission will be made available here.

Conference format:

2 invited keynote lectures

Selected talks from submitted abstracts — preference given to younger scientists. 

Breakout rooms with disinhibited discussion on selected topics. 

We have posted a few topics for the breakout sessions.  Please vote on those and if you do not like any of those, please suggest your own topic. If your topic receives enough votes it will feature in the program. 

EBRAINS on the ESFRI 2021 roadmap

EBRAINS the research infrastructure that HBP have developed over the years, has now been included into the ESFRI Roadmap 2021. This marks an important milestone for EBRAINS and a recognition of its sustainable scientific value and high quality and it will also give EBRAINS a new boost and help to position it as the go-to platform for scientists involved in brain research.

ESFRI, the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures, pursues a fundamental mission: to develop the scientific integration of Europe, to strengthen its international outreach, and to provide Europe with the most up-to-date Research Infrastructures, responding to the rapidly evolving science frontiers, also advancing the knowledge-based technologies and their extended use. One of the core objectives of ESFRI is to ensure that excellent scientists have access to Europe’s best research infrastructures irrespective of borders.

Research infrastructures included into the ESFRI Roadmap go through a thorough evaluation and selection procedure, taking both scientific excellence and implementation rigor into account. Being part of the ESFRI roadmap means that EBRAINS belongs to the list of the best European Research Infrastructures.