1.      Brief Description of the Institution

The Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM) is a state university with approximately 26,000 students and 2,600 staff. It is organized into eight schools: Philosophy and Arts, Psychology, Law, Sciences, Business and Economics, Education, Engineering and Medicine, offering a wide range of graduate and postgraduate study programmes. Despite its youth –it was founded just 45 years ago- it has already achieved an outstanding international reputation for its high-quality teaching and research. It has reached nº 153 in the ranking Top 500 World Universities (ranking by Jiao Tong University, Shanghai), and nº 46 in the Times Higher Education 100 Under 50 Rankings 2015 (which ranks Universities under 50 years old). In 2009 the UAM, with its 11 associated Institutes of the Spanish Research Council (CSIC), was declared International Excellence Campus by the Spanish Government. The campus is green and compact, caters for disabled students, and strives to be environmentally sustainable. It includes, among other facilities, halls of residence, a sports centre, language services, an infant school and a primary school, and offers a rich variety of cultural activities, lifelong learning programmes, and opportunities for cooperation and volunteer work. Most of the Schools and specialised Institutes are on the attractive Cantoblanco campus 15 km North of Madrid. The School of Medicine, together with a School of Nursing and the Biomedical Research Institute are closer to the city, near La Paz Hospital. Several top hospitals in Madrid are also affiliated with the UAM.

The UAM has a strong international vocation, with agreements with more than 500 international institutions and around 2000 exchange students every year from all over the world. Since its inception, the UAM has had a strong research focus, with growing university-business collaboration, and has endeavoured to attract the best students, researchers and staff. It strives for teaching and training quality and is committed to leadership in innovation and research. It engages in collaborative activities with educational, industrial and institutional partners to disseminate and apply knowledge which is valuable to society, and promotes social engagement and environmental sustainability.



2.      Please tick the areas of research (as established in Marie Sklodowska Curie Actions)
☐ Chemistry (CHE)

☐ Social Sciences and Humanities (SOC)

☐ Economic Sciences (ECO)

☐ Information Science and Engineering (ENG)

☐ Environmental Sciences and Geology (ENV)

X Life Sciences (LIF)

☐ Mathematics (MAT)

☐ Physics (PHY)



3.      Research / Project Description
Involvement of cholinergic mechanisms in somatosensory processing and input-dependent plasticity in adult rodents

Our group is interested in the cholinergic modulation of the somatosensory system, mainly in its trigeminal division in rodents –from the trigeminal ganglion to the barrel cortex. The cholinergic projections from the basal forebrain to the cerebral cortex play an important role in the processing and modulation of sensory information and, as a consequence, in learning, attention and memory. Cholinergic systems in the spinal cord and brain stem, in turn, also play a role in somatosensory transmission and pain modulation. We use electrophysiological recordings in anesthetized animals to study the neuronal responses to whisker stimulation and their modulation by cholinergic projections. We use optogenetic methods to specifically stimulate cholinergic neurons in the basal forebrain. We also use a number of neuroanatomical immunocytochemical and tract-tracing methods, including some viral vectors, basic molecular biology techniques, and quantitative stereological and digital reconstruction methods.



4.      Who can apply?

At the deadline for the submission of proposals (10/09/2015), researchers (*):

·         shall be in possession of a doctoral degree or have at least four years of full-time equivalent research experience in a field related to the neurosciences.

·         must not have resided or carried out their main activities in the country of Spain for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the abovementioned deadline.



5.      Contact persons

Carlos Avendano, MD, PhD carlos.avendano@uam.es

Angel Nuñez, PhD angel.nunez@uam.es



6.      Applications: documents to be submitted and deadlines

1.       CV

2.       Letter of motivation

3.       Recommendation or support letters (optional; max. 2)


Deadline: September 1, 2015


Please note that:

  • Deadline of the next call for proposals for Marie Sklodowska – Curie Individual Fellowships is September, 10th
  • Oficina Europea is only responsible for the display of the expressions of interests received by the institutions; further contact and information requests will take place directly between the host institutions and the interested researchers.

(*) Further details on the Call and additional eligibility criteria can be found at the Participants´Portal