An NIH funded Postdoctoral Fellow position is available to study upper airway function and coordination in a neurodegenerative rodent model in the collaborative laboratories of Dr. Nicole Nichols (Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Missouri, Columbia; https://biomed.missouri.edu/nicole-l-nichols-phd/) and Dr. Teresa Lever (Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, University of Missouri, Columbia; https://medicine.missouri.edu/faculty/teresa-lever-phd).
Funded projects include determining if muscle activity important for upper airway function and coordination is decreased following targeted hypoglossal motor neuron death in a novel, inducible rodent model, and if muscle activity is restored with low-force high-repetition tongue exercise performed in the home cage. In addition, funded projects are focused on understanding the underlying cellular mechanism(s) responsible for restoration of muscle activity following tongue exercise in our novel rodent model.
A variety of experimental approaches will be utilized in these studies including conducting survival surgeries to implant electrodes to enable EMG recordings from muscles important for upper airway function, and survival surgeries to implant osmotic pumps to enable delivery of drug inhibitors postulated to be required for restoration of muscle activity after tongue exercise. In tandem, the fellow will have the opportunity to learn a variety of aerodigestive-related techniques (e.g., plethysmography, fluoroscopy, endoscopy, brainstem evoked potential testing, etc.) to objectively evaluate the exercise treatment effect. Lastly, the fellow will conduct research projects in a neurodegenerative model with broad translational impact and will work with a collaborative and complementary mentoring team that includes a respiratory physiologist and a speech-language pathology clinician-scientist.
We are looking for self-motivated individuals who can creatively integrate new ideas and concepts into the overall team goals. Candidates should hold a Ph.D., M.D., or D.V.M. degree in an area of neuroscience, or respiratory, aerodigestive, exercise, or integrative physiology, and have excellent oral and written communication skills. Previous experience with neurophysiological recordings, neural control of breathing or swallowing, and/or survival surgeries is preferred but not required. Salary is commensurate with experience and based on current NIH guidelines.
Columbia, Missouri is a small city with a low cost of living located 2 hours from both historic St. Louis and Kansas City. Columbia has vibrant art and music scenes, each year hosting the world-renowned True/False Film Festival (https://truefalse.org/) and the Roots & Blues & BBQ Music Festival (https://rootsnbluesnbbq.com/). There are many excellent restaurants and bars in the downtown "District" (https://discoverthedistrict.com/) that will satisfy your food, drink and coffee cravings. Columbia is also a couple of hours drive from the beautiful Ozark mountains and spring-fed lakes and rivers.
Interested candidates are encouraged to send: 1) a cover letter describing their research experiences, current interests, and career goals; 2) a CV with publications; and 3) the names and email addresses of three referees to Dr. Nicole Nichols by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.