Postdoctoctoral Fellowships in Systems Neuroscience

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
May 19, 2020
Jun 18, 2020
Position Type
Full Time
Entry Level
  1. 1. Deep brain stimulation in Parkinson’s disease (1):We are studying the therapeutic mechanisms of deep brain stimulation in mouse models of Parkinson’s disease.  We discovered that optogenetic interventions targeted to the external globus pallidus (GPe) induce long-lasting motor rescue, persisting for hours beyond stimulation. We are now seeking to translate this discovery for use in humans by developing electrical stimulation paradigms that mimic the cell-type specificity of optogenetics.  We have identified several candidate stimulation protocols whose effects need to be validated at the cellular, circuit, and behavioral levels.  All of our experiments are performed in mice, but we are collaborating with a primate lab at the University of Pittsburgh (Rob Turner) to test protocols in primate models of Parkinson’s as well.  One of the questions is how cell-type specific interventions differ from global interventions in both their short-term and long-term effects on neural activity in downstream motor areas, including the substantia nigra, entopeduncular nucleus, and locomotor brainstem. 

          We are taking a number of approaches, including optogenetics, automated behavioral tracking with Deep Lab Cut, head-fixed in vivo physiology, and brain slice physiology.


  1. Basal ganglia circuits that decrease movement (1) The basal ganglia have been shown to regulate locomotion through projections to the locomotor brainstem, but this pathway remains poorly understood in terms of cell-type specificity, real-time modulation during behavioral tasks, and dysfunction in disease.  We are studying the cellular architecture of these locomotor pathways and how they are engaged under different behavioral contexts or disease conditions.

          We are taking the following approaches, retrograde and anterograde circuit mapping, fiber photometry, optogenetics, and progressive mouse models of Parkinson’s disease. 

Please contact Aryn Gittis (



2 openings.

Preference will be given to applicants with experience in electrophysiology, either in vivo or slice.