Three positions are available in the Laboratory of Systems Neural Development at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
**To apply: send CV and email brief statement of interest to firstname.lastname@example.org **
The Laboratory of Systems Neural Development is dedicated to understanding the function of early brain activity in the fetal and infant brain. Contrary to long held beliefs, we now know that the fetal brain is not simply an immature version of the adult brain. Rather, it is uniquely specialized for the job of wiring up sparsely connected circuits in a sensory-poor environment. This means that diagnostic and treatment approaches for neurodevelopmental disorders must follow separate rules when dealing with the developing brain. Revealing these differences between the fetal and mature brain is one of our main goals and is clinically relevant to diagnosing developmental disorders and monitoring treatment success with EEG and MRI.
We combine advanced electrophysiological methods with genetic techniques in animal models of human development in utero to manipulate activity during early circuit formation. We ask two fundamental questions: (1) How are the earliest neural circuits specialized to generate and transmit activity, which is critical for circuit formation? (2) What changes in circuit function must occur to switch the brain from a fetal mode of function to the adult mode, which is critical for normal sensory processing and cognition? One of the ultimate goals of the lab is to create an atlas linking underlying circuit dysfunction to changes in the EEG of preterm and perinatal infants. Our current focus is on the role of thalamocortical feedback in the amplification and synchronization of retinal input and in the developmental origins of cortical state regulation.
The PI has a strong focus on training, mentoring and professional development of candidates.
All positions are funded for up to four years.
The ideal candidate is a computational neuroscientist with experience modeling thalamocortical circuits who is interested in developing an experimentally grounded model of early network dynamics and plasticity as part of the lab’s established collaboration with Boris Gutkin (Ecole Normale Superior, Paris) and Jonathan Touboul (Brandeis University, Waltham MA). Depending on interest, there is the possibility to participate, or be trained in, live animal experiments such as in vivo electrophysiology and calcium imaging in rodents. Desired: PhD in Neuroscience or equivalent, experience modeling neural networks, ability to draft manuscript and grants independently.
The ideal candidate is a recent graduate with experience with some form of electrophysiology or optical imaging interested in working in vivo in neonatal rodents. The lab uses multi-electrode arrays, patch clamp and calcium imaging, all in vivo. Experience with programming in Matlab, signal processing, viral expression of genetic modulators of activity, fiber photometry, or computational modeling of circuits are all pluses. The successful candidate will work on the interplay of relay thalamus, corticothalamic feedback and the reticular nucleus of the thalamus during early development, using the visual system as the primary model. Desired: A PhD in Neuroscience or equivalent, experience with electrophysiological techniques and analysis, ability to draft manuscript and grants independently.
Senior Research Assistant:
The ideal candidate is a recent Masters in Electrical engineering, Biomedical engineering, Computer science etc., with some course work in digital signal processing and experience programing in Matlab and Python. Duties include: Improve and maintain imaging and electrophysiological set-ups, design data analysis pipeline, and implement signal processing and analysis routines, including, but not limited to, spike-sorting of high-density neural probes and spectral and state analysis of depth EEG. Depending on candidate’s interest, direct participation in animal recordings in vivo are possible. Contributions to research projects will result in authorship on publications. Exceptional BS students will be considered. This is an ideal position for a student interested in obtaining research experience in neuroscience for applications to academia or industry. (typical salary range $35,000-50,000)