Morikawa lab is currently recruiting two postdocs. There are two ongoing projects.
1) Experience-dependent regulation of reward learning and addiction vulnerability
In this project, we are studying the neurobiological mechanisms regulating the counteractive effects of stressful experience and daily exercise on reward- and drug-induced cue learning and the underlying synaptic plasticity in the mesolimbic dopamine system. One focus of this project is to determine how these experiences affect the cue-reward timing dependence of learning via noradrenergic regulation of synaptic plasticity in the ventral tegmental area.
2) Dopamine regulation of synaptic plasticity in the nucleus accumbens and striatum
In this project, we are studying the calcium-dependent signaling mechanism mediating dopamine regulation of glutamatergic synaptic plasticity in the nucleus accumbens and striatum. Interaction of signaling molecules (cAMP, IP3, calcium) will be examined to determine the dopamine timing dependence of plasticity. We plan to extend this project to address the role of this form of plasticity in reward learning in live animals.
Techniques currently used in the lab include rodent behavioral analyses, brain stereotaxic surgery for injection of drugs and viral vectors, brain microdialysis to measure dopamine and norepinephrine levels, optogenetic and chemogenetic stimulation of specific neurons, and brain slice electrophysiology, calcium imaging, and UV photolysis of caged compounds.
Previous experience in at least one of the following techniques is desirable:
stereotaxic procedures in rodent brain, brain slice electrophysiology/calcium imaging
The candidate should have a PhD or MD. Initial appointment will be 2 years with a possibility of extension (up to 5 years). Salary will be based on NIH scale.
To apply, please send CV, brief statement of research interest and names of 2-3 references to:
Hitoshi Morikawa, MD/PhD
Department of Neuroscience & Waggoner Center for Alcohol and Addiction Research
University of Texas at Austin
The University of Texas at Austin is an Equal Opportunity Employer with a commitment to diversity at all levels.
The Department of Neuroscience at the University of Texas at Austin offers world-class research programs and is committed to excellence in education at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. The department is comprised of 30 multi-disciplinary faculty members who, along with approximately 45 additional inter-departmental and inter-college faculty members in the Institute for Neuroscience, represent the core of neuroscience research at UT Austin. We have nationally prominent programs in the neurobiology of learning and memory, addiction, brain trauma, mental health, and epilepsy.