PhD student Development of mood disturbances after romantic relationship breakup

Universitair Medisch Centrum Groningen

Universitair Medisch Centrum Groningen

PhD student
Niet nader bepaald
Niet nader bepaald


Working environment

The Neuroimaging Center is a section of the department of Neuroscience of the University Medical Center Groningen. It provides facilities for functional brain research since 2003, including an in house 3T MRI scanner, EEG-, TMS and NIRS equipment, and a strong data-analysis support team. The Neuroimaging Center focusses it research activities on ‘neurobiology of stress-related psychiatric disorders’ and in the context of the main goal on the neurobiology of heart break as a chronic stressful event.

Job description

We are currently looking for a highly motivated and determined candidate for a PhD student in the section of prof. dr. Gert J. ter Horst (known in the Netherlands as dr. Love). The PhD student will work on “development of depressive symptoms after a breakup of a romantic relationship and how this translates to development of depression in Parkinsons disease”.

Chronic stress or life events have been identified as leading cause in the etiology of depression. There is increasing evidence that stress activates different neuronal circuitry in men and women, which might contribute to an observed sex difference in prevalence of depression. We know little about the sequence of (gender-specific) events taking place in the healthy brain after a life event and how this contributes to development of depression. Since a large number of Parkinson patients will develop depression during progression of the disease, a compromised function of the dopaminergic system may be part of this sequence of events. To unravel these events we want to follow the changes in brain activity that take place during grieving of a broken-up relationship (heart break). In this period people show changes in behavior that resemble a mild depression, like depressed mood, lack of sleep, loss of appetite, grief, concentration problems, and ruminating thoughts. For the start of the project we have acquired a database of 76 men and women suffering of heartbreak who underwent fMRI scans and completed different questionnaires. There are options for designing own fMRI studies during the PhD project.

In the Neuroimaging Center you will become part of an international research team. The Neuroimaging Center offers an excellent research environment with ample possibilities for collaboration with both basic as well as clinical researchers.

Further information can be found at

What do we need

  • MSc in psychology or related biomedical field
  • Experience with fMRI and data-analysis
  • Knowledge of basic neuroscience
  • Good presentation and writing skills
  • Good English language skills
  • A collaborative attitude

The UMCG has a preventive Hepatitis B policy. You may be required to build up sufficient protection against Hepatitis B before you can be appointed. Vaccination is provided by the UMCG if necessary.

What do we offer

The University of Groningen offers a salary of € 2.244,- gross per month in the first year up to a maximum of € 2.874,- gross per month in the last year (PhD scale). In addition, the UMCG will offer you 8% holiday pay, an 8.3% end-of-year bonus and a development budget. The terms of employment comply with the Collective Labour Agreement for Medical Centers (CAO-UMC).

It concerns a full time appointment (36 h/week) for a period of four years to be concluded with a PhD examination. After one year, the performance of the candidate will be evaluated to decide whether there is sufficient progress to expect a successful completion of the PhD thesis within the coming three years.

More information
For more information see
or contact Gert J ter Horst, email: (please do not use for applications)


UMCG Corporate information/research
Welcome to Groningen

Applying for a job

Please use the the digital application form at the bottom of this page - only these will be processed.
You can apply until 30 January 2017.
Immediately after sending the digital application form you will receive an email- confirmation with further information.

Meer vacatures in de zorg bekijken?

Direct de laatste relevante vacatures in uw mailbox ontvangen?

Vacature alerts