Postdoctoral Fellow - Inflammation in Parkinson's Disease


Van Andel Research Institute


Grand Rapids, Michigan

Principal Investigator

Patrik Brundin

Principal Investigator

Lena Brundin



The laboratories of Drs. Patrik Brundin and Lena Brundin are seeking a postdoctoral fellow to work on a recently awarded Michael J Fox Foundation grant. The minimum two-year postdoctoral position, with a possiblity of extension pending successful grant applications and performance, is available immediately and intended for a motivated scientist who meets the qualifications and description outlined below. This fellow will investigate the contribution of the kynurenine pathway enzymes to Parkinson’s disease pathogenesis, both by studying clinical samples from patients and by analyzing animal models of PD.

The overall goal of this project is to study the role of kynurenine pathway enzymes and inflammation in PD. The candidate will analyze the levels of inflammatory factors and kynurenine metabolites in CSF and blood samples from subjects with PD. The candidate will also use established model systems to determine effects of overexpressing and knocking out key enzymes in the kynurenine pathway for the development of nigral degeneration and motor symtoms in mice and rats. The results from these studies could lead to the development of novel biomarkers and therapeutic strategies to improve clinical outcomes of PD.

The fellow will primarily be a member of the Lena Brundin laboratory, and directly report to her. As the fellow will be working on joint projects, he or she will also participate in regular project progress meetings together with both Drs. Brundin and interact with both their research groups.

The Center for Neurodegenerative Disease is a growing research environment with currently nine faculty members. The Center focuses on the development of novel treatments that slow or stop the progression of neurodegenerative disease, in particular Parkinson’s disease. The Center’s work revolves around three main goals: disease modification, biomarker discovery, and brain repair. The fellows will benefit from a training environment with weekly joint journal clubs, regular center updates, several extramural seminar speakers and an annual international symposium organized by the institute.

Van Andel Research Institute (VARI) provides postdoctoral training opportunities to scientists beginning their research careers. The fellowships are to help promising scientists advance their knowledge and research experience and at the same time support the research endeavors of VARI under the mentorship of a VARI Faculty member.

While this project is currently funded, an integral part of postdoctoral training is the process of preparing a research proposal and writing a fellowship application. All VARI Postdoctoral Fellows are encouraged to apply for external funding as soon as it is practical and reasonable after hire.

Qualified applicants should provide a cover letter outlining research experience and interests, a curriculum vitae, and the names and address of three references by visiting



  • A Ph.D. or M.D./Ph.D. in neuroscience, biochemistry, and/or molecular and cell biology with expertise in neurodegenerative disease, e.g. PD.
  • Experience of working with molecular and cell biology techniques including ELISA- and qPCR-based methods.
  • Previous experience with stereotaxic surgery, brain morphology, and animal behavioral studies.
  • A record of peer-reviewed publications is highly desirable.
  • Must provide the names of three individuals who can provide recommendations and present a scientific seminar describing his or her previous research.

Description of a Successful Candidate:

  • A self-motivated and driven individual who is able to exhibit exceptional research productivity and take responsibility for management of the project.
  • A detail-oriented researcher who thinks critically to effectively design experiments and solve complex research problems.
  • A strong ability to take initiative and work independently, as well as in a team environment.
  • A collaborative, hands-on researcher who proactively shares knowledge and expertise with lab members.
  •  Excellent written and oral communication skills.