A postdoctoral position is available in the laboratory of Silvia Arber to study the function of brainstem neurons in motor behaviors.
The brainstem plays an essential role in controlling the generation of diverse body actions. Yet, surprisingly little is known about how functionally diverse neurons collaborate to select and execute appropriate actions. Our recent work has revealed the existence of highly organized circuits in the brainstem, with functionally dedicated neuronal populations acting as command lines to generate diverse actions including skilled forelimb movement and locomotion (Esposito et al., 2014, Nature; Capelli et al., 2017, Nature; Pivetta et al., 2014 Cell; Basaldella et al., 2015 Cell). The goal of our future work is to understand the functionality of these identified brainstem neurons within the broader context of the motor system, to reveal the circuit level mechanisms by which one action is selected over another, and to understand how neuronal activity can drive programs to generate the diverse but specific actions of our bodies needed to carry out all behaviors.
The successful candidate should be highly motivated to contribute to our efforts to understand the function of the motor system. He/she should have a background in applying in vivo methods to neuronal circuit function and is expected to take a leading role in in vivo electrophysiology and/or 2-photon imaging experiments (data acquisition and analysis), aligned with recording behavior. Prior work on motor system function is not a must. Background in programming and knowledge in hardware required for data acquisition is a plus. In addition, we expect excellent communication and organization skills, and the ability to work as a team member.