The Maness laboratory is in the Genetic Medicine Building at UNC with access to outstanding imaging and core facilities through the UNC Neuroscience Research Center and Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities. The environment offers a rich venue for training in molecular developmental neuroscience.
Our laboratory focuses on the mechanisms of circuit formation by neuronal cells in the mammalian brain. Neural cell adhesion molecules (CAMs) are key regulators of neuronal processes and synaptogenesis during postnatal adolescent development of the mammalian brain. Mouse gene knockouts implicate these adhesion molecules in axonal and dendritic growth during development and in learning and memory in the adult. To define the roles of CAMs in development of cortical circuitry, we are identifying the intracellular signaling cascades induced by binding interactions of these receptors using a combined approach of mouse genetic models, biochemistry, and molecular biology.
The Postdoctoral Research Associate will develop novel mouse genetic models to identify molecular mechanisms of synapse regulation by GABAergic interneurons in the prefrontal cortex. Parvalbumin- and CCK-positive basket interneurons are unique in targeting the soma of cortical pyramidal cells, important for working memory and pyramidal cell synchrony. These classes of interneurons are defected in schizophrenia, thus it is important to understand their function and patterns of connectivity. New findings implicate these interneurons in remodeling synaptic connections during adolescent development through ephrinA/EphA receptor signaling to achieve the appropriate balance of excitatory and inhibitory connections in the prefrontal cortex. The project will use mouse genetic mutants, 2 photon microscopy, live imaging of neurons in brain slices, and cell/biochemistry to elucidate mechanisms of synaptic remodeling in adolescent development. Training in electrophysiology, molecular modeling of protein interactions, and mouse behavioral testing can also be involved. The program of study is relevant both to normal development and neurodevelopmental disorders.
We have an outstanding group of talented and interactive lab members, and a great environment in the Department of Biochemistry and UNC Neuroscience Research Center.
PhD in Biochemsitry and Biophysics and or related field of study in science with a background in neuroscience.Qualifications and Experience
An educational background in molecular neurobiology is required. Experience in cell culture, microscopy, molecular biology, and biochemistry is desired. A successful candidate will have the opportunity to compete for independent postdoctoral fellowships.