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2 NIH-funded POSTDOCTORAL POSITIONS available at University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill to investigate the function of genes that regulate excitatory and inhibitory synapses in cortical circuits relevant to autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders. Projects focus on molecular mechanisms of the high confidence autism spectrum disorder gene ANKYRIN2 using novel mouse genetic models. Training will involve analysis of novel mouse genetic models, site directed mutagenesis of autism-related cDNAs, biochemical/cell biological analysis of protein-protein interactions, and advanced imaging. The successful applicants will have a Ph.D. and background in neuroscience and molecular/cell biology or biochemistry.

The Maness laboratory focuses on defining novel mechanisms for establishing neuronal connectivity in the developing mammalian brain using mouse models, molecular biology, and protein biochemistry.  A key focus of the lab is understanding the molecular mechanism by which Neural Cell Adhesion Molecules (CAMs) regulate dendritic spines and synapses during the adolescent to adult transition. Genes encoding Neuron-Glial related CAM (NrCAM), L1, and NCAM are linked to autism, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder. These CAMs reversibly engage the spectrin-actin adaptor protein AnkyrinB, which encoded by the autism-linked Ank2 gene but the function of this interaction remains to be elucidated. We also have a project on endocannabinoid signaling for regulation of inhibitory synapse number in the prefrontal cortex. Identification of the molecular action of CAMs and Ankyrin in developing cortical circuits is a high priority focus of NIH in understanding normal and pathological brain development.

The applicant will study with Dr. Patricia Maness (mouse genetic models, DNA mutagenesis, superresolution microscopy), and interacting UNC faculty Dr. Paul Manis (electrophysiology), Dr. Pablo Ariel (spinning disc confocal microscopy), and Dr. Sheryl Moy (Mouse Behavioral Core) to acquire specialized training in state-of-the-art techniques and to attain project goals.

The Maness laboratory in the Biochemistry Department is in the Genetic Medicine Building of the UNC School of Medicine, with access to outstanding core facilities in the UNC Neuroscience Research Center and Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities. Our environment offers a rich venue for training in developmental neuroscience, and many opportunities for collaboration and personal enrichment.

Please send CV and list of references to:  Dr. Patricia Maness by Email.

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