A Post-doctoral position is immediately available within the research group in the Program in Neuroscience at the Hussman Institute for Autism in Baltimore, MD. The research group is in the Autism Neurocircuitry Laboratory which focuses on neuropathological and neurochemical alterations in post-mortem brains and in brain tissue from animal models including those with genetic risk gene(s) for the condition. The research is translational in nature and open to collaborations both within the institute as well as with external investigator(s).
The laboratory investigates changes in excitatory:inhibitory balance within synapses and circuits in key brain regions in autism vs. control cases. These regions include the cerebellum, basal ganglia and sensorimotor cortical regions that take part in speech and language initiation and action skills. These latter areas include Broca’s area, motor cortex and supplementary motor regions. One of the main frustrations for many individuals with autism is the inability to communicate verbally locking inside the persons’ true self. Much research is needed in order to break through this barrier and understand what forces are blocking their ability to respond. The Specific Aims of the funded award entitled "Neurochemical Alterations in the Speech and Language Network in the Autism Brain" focuses on differences in GABAergic, glutamatergic, dopaminergic and cholinergic receptors, perineural nets (PNNs) and specific types of GABAergic interneurons (e.g., parvalbumin) in an attempt to better decipher differences in network circuitry, interactions and function of the speech and language network. The research will involve receptor autoradiography, fluorescent immunohistochemistry, stereological techniques, cell and molecular techniques, digital image quantification and statistical analysis.
Preference will be given to a candidate already familiar with some or all of these techniques, but we will provide training for motivated candidates. This position is open to candidates with a Ph.D. in any of the relevant fields (neuroscience, neurochemistry, neuroanatomy, etc.) and will remain open until a suitable candidate has been selected.