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Dr. Abraira’s research combines the power of mouse molecular genetics, high resolution imaging, electrophysiology and animal behavior to map and test the functions of specific neuronal circuits. Their goal is to carefully dissect the somatosensory system--and particularly the sense of touch--in order to test and understand its contributions to both normal health and disease.
Touch is one of the first senses to develop in utero and the only sense that if deprived of during early development can result in catastrophic changes to our emotional and social development. To date, a major obstacle towards progress in innocuous touch circuit dissection is the difficulty in recognizing distinct populations of neurons that receive and process touch information. To address this issue, they developed a comprehensive cohort of mouse genetic tools to visualize and manipulate touch circuits from the periphery all the way to the brain (Abraira et.al., Cell 2017). Ongoing work is centered around manipulating these different neuronal populations to understand their contributions to touch, pain, locomotion and social behaviors.
These are some of the questions that they are asking with this technology:
- What is the functional organization within the spinal cord that give rise to specific behavioral features related to pain and locomotion? How are these circuits affected after spinal cord injury?
- How do supraspinal centers (ie cortex and brainstem) modulate somatosensory processing in the spinal cord dorsal horn?
- What are the circuits of affective touch and how does touch shape our social brain?
They are seeking self-motivated individuals with a strong commitment to neuroscience research. Candidates must have a PhD in neurobiology, cell/molecular biology, or related field with one or more first author publications in internationally recognised peer-reviewed journals. Researchers with experience in electrophysiology/patch clamp recordings and/or mouse behaviour are especially encouraged to apply and will receive first preference. This position requires experience and willingness to work with mice. Salary will be negotiable, highly competitive, and commensurate with experience.
The lab is both physically and thematically embedded within the Keck Center for Collaborative Neuroscience and the Spinal Cord Injury Project. The center includes four full time staff (two lab managers, animal care/histology technician, imaging specialist) well trained in spinal cord neurobiology/spinal cord injury models and ready to help with your project. In addition, Rutgers presents a vibrant research community, with $700 million in annual research and development expenditures. Successful candidates will benefit from an interactive and supportive neuroscience community that span five Rutgers campuses and two medical schools, with abundant seminars, symposia and collaborations that offer exposure to new ideas, cutting edge techniques and career development. Rutgers is also diverse campus with direct access to New York City, Philadelphia and Baltimore/Washington DC all rich in career opportunities that span academia, industry, and education.
How to Apply
To apply, please submit a cover letter stating your research interest, a CV, and contact information for references to Dr. Victoria Abraira ([email protected]).