Laboratory of Neural Circuits & Behavior

Laboratory of Neural Circuits & Behavior

Join us!

7-15-2022 We are recruiting postdoctoral researchers to join a NIH/BRAIN Initiative-funded project to define the anatomical, molecular, and functional diversity of neuronal subtypes in the cerebellum and determine how the dynamic neural activity of discrete cerebellar output circuits contributes to limb movement. The efficacy of limb movements requires continuous refinement of motor output mediated by dedicated circuits that drive rapid adjustments during an action. The cerebellum has long been thought to underlie motor refinement, through its processing of efference copy and sensory feedback signals. Ultimately, the cerebellum can only affect forelimb behavior through output projections in the cerebellar nuclei (CN). However, little is known about how CN circuits are organized and whether anatomically and molecularly discrete pathways are dedicated to distinct motor functions.

Projects aim to: 1) define specific subtypes of neurons within the cerebellar nuclei by delineating their input and output connectivity and molecular identities, 2) establish the functional connectivity between distinct CN subpopulations and forelimb muscles and examines how cerebellar output pathways influence goal-directed forelimb movements, and 3) explore how the activity of discrete CN output pathways correlates with forelimb online correction and endpoint precision. By defining the organization of distinct cerebellar output pathways and identifying the ways in which they influence dexterous movements, this work will provide insight into how diverse circuits differentially participate in motor control, and clarify how injury and disease of cerebellar circuits can lead to motor impairments in humans.

Principal Responsibilities:

Candidates will utilize molecular-genetic tools and techniques, such as cell-type specific Cre mouse lines, intersectional AAV and rabies transsynaptic viral tracing, and optogenetics, and combine this powerful circuit dissection with high-resolution behavioral assays, multielectrode neural recording, and electromyography (EMG) recording designed to probe the execution of dexterous limb movements. Additionally, candidates will use single nuclei RNA-sequencing approaches to clarify the molecular organization of cerebellar output circuits as distinguished by their distinct projection targets.

Preferred Qualifications:

Ph.D. in Neuroscience, Molecular Biology, Physiology or the equivalent. Seeking a candidate with a strong desire to develop an independent research project. Experience with molecular biology, anatomy/histology, electrophysiology, imaging, murine genetics, and/or murine behavioral analysis is considered valuable, but not essential. Please send CV and names of three references to info@chenlaboratory.us