Jobs

Postdoctoral Scholar in Neurotech

Employer

Western University

Location

London, Ontario, Canada

Principal Investigator

Tim Bussey, Marco Prado, Lisa Saksida, Vania Prado

Contact

Please send a statement of interest, Curriculum Vitae, and the names and contact information of at least two references to:

Dr. Nicole Gervais, Robarts Research Institute, University of Western Ontario

Email: Nicole Gervais ngervai2@uwo.ca

Description

A full-time postdoctoral position is available immediately to work with the Mouse Translational Research Accelerator Platform (MouseTRAP) team on developing a human cognitive test battery based on tasks validated in rodents. The postdoc will work with principal investigators including Tim Bussey, Adrian Owen, and Lisa Saksida at the Robarts Research Institute, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, at The University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario.

MouseTRAP is a unique platform that directly addresses the urgent and critical challenge to translate neurocognitive discovery research in mouse models toward improvements in human health.  It is centered on a touchscreen-based cognitive testing system for mice that enables flexible presentation of comprehensive test batteries involving visual stimuli at any location on a screen, as is increasingly done in human patient testing. Mice respond directly to the stimuli with their nose and positive reinforcers such as strawberry milkshake are delivered for correct choices. The team has developed more than 30 touchscreen tests for mice that tap into disease-relevant aspects of high-level cognition, including attention, memory, executive function, and motivation. MouseTRAP pairs these touchscreen-based cognitive tests with cutting-edge technologies to record or manipulate neuronal, glial, or neurochemical activity, which makes it possible to match—millisecond by millisecond—what is happening in the brain with human-relevant cognitive performance. This can be done in healthy mice or in our extensive catalogue of next-generation disease models, making MouseTRAP a state-of-the-art platform for assessment of robust, reproducible, and human-relevant cognitive outcomes in mouse models, for either fundamental discovery research or development of evidence-based therapeutic interventions.

The postdoctoral fellow will develop and validate a battery of touchscreen tests for humans that is harmonized with touchscreen-based tasks used in rodents. The successful candidate will work in collaboration with online testing company Creyos and the MouseTRAP team to choose appropriate cognitive tasks, develop the harmonized test battery, and design and implement circuit-level validation experiments using, e.g., fMRI in humans. The successful candidate will also have excellent opportunities to interact with researchers and core facilities funded by Western’s Canada First Research Excellence Fund program in cognitive neuroscience, BrainsCAN.

Western is committed to employment equity and diversity in the workplace and welcomes applications from women, members of racialized groups/visible minorities, Aboriginal persons, persons with disabilities, persons of any sexual orientation, and persons of any gender identity or gender expression.

Requirements

Qualified applicants should have a Ph.D. degree in psychology, neuroscience, pharmacology, or a related discipline with demonstrated expertise in cognitive testing, ideally cross-species and with computerized test batteries. Candidates with strong computational skills are preferred.