Application ends: August 20, 2024
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Job Description

The Translational NeuroEngineering Laboratory (TNEL) in the University of Minnesota Department of Psychiatry has two openings for post-PhD scholars at the intersection of neuroscience, brain stimulation, and behavior. Our laboratory develops technologies to reverse the circuit impairments that cause mental illness, including depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, PTSD, and addictions. More information about our work is at http://www.tnelab.org/ .

The job duties (100%) in this project involve measuring and manipulating the activity of cortico-striato-thalamic circuits involved in complex decision-making, and specifically in governing the balance between flexible and rigid decision styles. Tools to be employed (and on which we can train you) include:

• Novel silicon probes (Neuropixels, UCLA) for recording hundreds of simultaneous channels across multiple cortical/ striatal circuits
• Optogenetic and electrical real-time perturbations, including interventions directly related to clinical deep brain stimulation.
• Innovative behavioral assays and parametric computational modeling of behavior to identify the underlying circuit computations.

The work has direct relevance to new treatments for obsessive-compulsive disorder, eating disorders, and depression, among other illnesses.

The majority of this position’s work will be with animals (rats), but we are a translational lab that also does human/clinical work, and you may be involved in preliminary human translation if that is of interest. Depending on your interests, there may also be opportunities/exposure to:

• Medical device development and commercialization
• Neural simulation and modeling paradigms
• The clinical neurobiology of mental illness

This position can be either a postdoc or a staff researcher position depending on your career stage and goals. For a candidate with less experience or if you are certain that you want a short-term experience leading to a PI-level job, we would appoint you as a postdoc. The emphasis would be preparing you to be successful in the future as an independent researcher and planning to move on after about 3-4 years. There would be a strong emphasis on submitting competitive applications for fellowships and other grants on the pathway to independence.

Alternately, for a candidate with more experience who is certain he/she does not want a faculty role, we have a staff scientist track. This is meant to be a long-term (5-10 years, maybe more) position within the lab, leading projects and training junior researchers.

Please indicate in your cover letter/application materials if you have a strong sense of which of these tracks better fits your needs.

Required Qualifications:

• A doctoral degree in a relevant field. “Relevant” is very broad. Scholars from neuroscience, biomedical engineering, psychology, physics, computer science, and many other disciplines have thrived in our team.
• A strong command of and interest in decision science, evidenced by prior research in this general area.
• Excellent verbal and written communication skills. Much of our work requires explaining complex technical concepts to non-domain-experts.
• Substantial (and documented/proven) capability for independent work, problem-solving, and initiative-taking.
• Interpersonal skills appropriate for collaboration in a very multidisciplinary and highly diverse environment.

Preferred Research Skills

• Prior experimental work in animal or human neuroscience, especially electrophysiology in any species
• Any prior work in mathematical models of decision-making
• Prior work with psychiatric patient populations or the biological mechanisms of mental illness
• Skills with electronics or computer hardware, whether design or repair
• Experience with brain-computer interfaces and/or brain decoding paradigms

How should applicants apply?
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