Postdoctoral Research in the Neurobiology of Executive Function
The Spellman Lab at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine is looking for postdoctoral researchers to study the physiological, anatomical, and computational building blocks of executive functioning in the mammalian brain. This work is both basic and translational in nature, motivated by questions of how populations of neurons in higher-order association areas represent abstract concepts critical to executive function, as well as how this circuitry is disrupted across a wide range of psychiatric and neurological impairments.
The lab has NIH funding to use combined 2-photon calcium imaging and opto-/chemo-genetics to explore the circuit mechanisms that underlie the effects of chronic stress on cognitive flexibility in the prefrontal cortex and associated brain regions. A second funded project uses novel, high-speed volumetric imaging techniques to examine cortical networks supporting selective attention. Applicants with interest in using cutting-edge techniques for recording and controlling neuronal activity in higher-order association areas to better understand cognitive processes impacted by psychiatric and neurological diseases are strongly encouraged to apply. Those with their own project ideas based on these core research themes are encouraged to apply as well. A recent publication that exemplifies the lab’s current research direction can be found here:
Spellman T, Svei M, Kaminsky J, Manzano-Nieves G, Liston C. Prefrontal deep projection neurons enable cognitive flexibility via persistent feedback monitoring. Cell. 2021 May 13;184(10):2750-2766.e17.
The University of Connecticut School of Medicine is a globally competitive R1 research institution situated in the scenic natural landscape of Connecticut’s Farmington Valley. The Neuroscience department is a tight-knit, highly collaborative training environment that draws on strengths in genetics, cell physiology, neurodevelopment, behavioral modeling, and circuit- and systems-level neurophysiology. Postdocs will benefit from a high level of career support and close mentorship.
Applicants should have a doctoral degree in Neuroscience, Biomedical Sciences, Bioinformatics, Physiology, or a related discipline. An ability to clearly communicate scientific ideas is required. The projects will involve the use of 2-photon and/or single-photon imaging in awake, behaving rodents, as well as computational modeling of behavioral and physiological data. Skill and experience in analysis of complex data sets (machine learning tools in Python/Matlab/R, etc) will be helpful, and willingness to learn is a must. Scientists from communities historically under-represented in STEM research are strongly encouraged to apply.