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External: Master Student in Circuit Dynamics and Behavior

The Haubensak Laboratory at the Center for Brain Research is seeking an enthusiastic Master’s student interested in novel multidisciplinary approaches towards understanding the brain [1]. Wulf Haubensak is a former group leader and currently adjunct investigator of the IMP.


The successful candidate will explore how brain networks assign affective value to environmental cues and environments [2]and how animal behavioral strategies and profiles changes with learning of such associations [3]. He/she will acquire fundamental knowledge in state-of-the art neuroscientific workflows, linking behavioral strategies to brain responses and circuitry [4].

Your profile

Ideally, you should have an academic education in natural-, computer science or medicine and hold a BSc with interest in behavioral or circuit imaging neuroscience. We are looking for someone who is fascinated at how neural circuitry shape behavioral strategies, is creative, critical, and can work independently in a supportive team. It would be great to welcome you as a highly motivated and communicative member of our team, with enthusiasm to become an active element in shaping our interactive environment and workflows in interdisciplinary neuroscience.

About the Haubensak Laboratory

Emotions are a central part of our mental self, shaping perception, memories, and behaviors. In the newly restructured Department of Neuronal Cell Biology, we explore how experiences are tagged with emotions by brain networks. Such affective neural networks link environmental stimuli to meaningful values, such as threat or reward, and initiate the corresponding defensive or appetitive responses, respectively. We use circuit neuroscience and behavioral genetics to understand this phenomenon. In the long run, this research helps to explain how brains assign the world with emotions and controls our affective reactions to it [5].

More information can be found at

Expected starting date:  February/March 2023.

The Medical University of Vienna aims to increase the proportion of women, especially in management positions and among scientific staff, and expressly encourages qualified women to apply. As one of Europe’s leading academic centers, we offer specific career programs for academic research and teaching. 

Please send your application including a letter of motivation, CV, and potential references until 22/12/2022 to: wulf.haubensak[at]

  1. D. Pfaff, I. Tabansky, and W. Haubensak, “Tinbergen’s challenge for the neuroscience of behavior,” Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, vol. 116, no. 20, pp. 9704–9710, May 2019, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1903589116.
  2. D. Kargl, J. Kaczanowska, S. Ulonska, and F. Groessl, “The amygdala instructs insular feedback for affective learning,” eLife 2020;9:e60336, pp. 1–36, 2020.
  3. F. Groessl et al., “Dorsal tegmental dopamine neurons gate associative learning of fear,” Nat Neurosci, vol. 21, no. 7, pp. 952–962, 2018.
  4. L. Piszczek et al., “Dissociation of impulsive traits by subthalamic metabotropic glutamate receptor 4,” Elife, vol. 11, Jan. 2022, doi: 10.7554/eLife.62123.
  5. P. Pliota et al., “Stress peptides sensitize fear circuitry to promote passive coping,” Mol Psychiatry, vol. 3, no. 2, pp. 1–14, 2018, doi: 10.1038/s41380-018-0089-2.