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Position Detail

We are seeking a motivated individual for a postdoctoral position within the Vanderbilt Center for Neuroscience Drug Discovery to explore the role and therapeutic potential of modulation of metabotropic glutamate receptor 7 in various neurological, psychiatric, and neurodevelopmental disorders.

Pharmacology and Vanderbilt Center for Neuroscience Drug Discovery

The Niswender lab is seeking an inquisitive and motivated postdoctoral fellow to join our Neurodevelopmental Disorders group within the Vanderbilt Center for Neuroscience Drug Discovery (VCNDD). Students and postdocs within the VCNDD receive exposure to all facets of academic drug discovery, ranging from testing basic science hypotheses, compound development, and translational neuroscience. Our group integrates elements of neuroscience, behavioral and molecular pharmacology, drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics, and electrophysiology to interrogate the role of metabotropic glutamate receptors and muscarinic acetylcholine receptors in autism and autism-associated disorders. 

The candidate will work with Dr. Colleen Niswender and several other senior scientists within the VCNDD to design and implement experiments to address questions that are central to our lab's interests and funding. The available projects focus on the role of the mGlu7 receptor in the neurodevelopmental disorder Rett syndrome. Successful candidates will receive training in electrophysiology, behavioral neuroscience, molecular pharmacology as well as manuscript and grant writing, all in the context of a team science-oriented academic drug discovery environment. With time, successful candidates will be encouraged to develop their own hypotheses as well as to solicit their own external funding.

Special consideration will be given to candidates with excellent written and oral communication skills, as well as those who are self-motivated, with ability to work independently.

Specific Position Duties with Percentages of Time

[ 90 ]% 

Techniques used in this position include, but are not limited to: 

  • Mouse breeding and genetic manipulation
  • Post-mortem rodent surgery
  • Biochemical analysis of rodent brains
  • Preparation of brain slices from rodents
  • Electrophysiological recordings from brain slices
  • Neurobehavioral phenotyping in rodents
  • Cell culture
  • Molecular cloning
  • In vitro and in vivo assessment of compound efficacy
  • Data analysis (knowledge of Microsoft Office, Excel, and Graphpad Prism are a prerequisite)
  • Presentation of data at meetings both internal and external to the VCNDD
  • Detailed maintenance of all required notebooks and compound log sheets 


[ 10 ]% 

  • Supervision of research assistants, graduate students and undergraduate researchers 
  • Assure trainees adhering to standard lab practice
  • Mentor career development of junior trainees



Minimum Requirements 

  • Graduation from an accredited college or university with a PhD in neuroscience, pharmacology or a related field
  • Minimum of 2 first author publications
  • Ability to work independently, but function as part of a team
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills 
  • Highly motivated to learn new techniques, develop hypotheses and obtain autonomous funding

Desired or preferred—Experience with any of the following: 

  • Standard molecular biology techniques
  • Knowledge of mouse genetics
  • Brain slice electrophysiology 
  • Knowledge of neurobehavioral assays
  • Experience formulating compounds is required


Salary and Benefits:

Salary is commensurate with skills and experience.

Application Materials Required: 

  • Cover letter
  • Resume/CV
  • Research statement (not to exceed 2 pages)
  • Contact information of 3 professional references

Please be advised that Vanderbilt University does check references as part of the employment process.

Colleen Niswender, PhD
: (615) 349-6489
2018-03-15 16:01:26

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