Engineering Tools to Untangle Learning and Memory

Interdisciplinary Areas: Engineering and Healthcare/Medicine/Biology

Project Description

Learning and short-term memory is driven by dynamic variations in the connective strength of neurons in the hippocampus. Underlying these plastic changes is a complex network of protein signaling that is itself regulated and rapidly varying in time and space. Disruptions in these networks leads to neurological disorders such as autism, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and other disorders that affect millions of people. New advances in computational power, super resolution microcopy, and molecular detection are allowing scientists to describe these highly dynamic systems at resolutions and with quantitative detail not previously possible. Our team of engineers and scientists seek a multidiscipline-minded postdoctoral scholar to lead the vision of applying computational biology, molecular neuroscience, and super-resolution imaging to describe fundamental processes in neuronal connectivity. These advances will be applied to quantify the relative effects of key protein interactions so that therapies can be specifically tailored to address disruptions and dysfunctions that lead to complex learning and memory disorders.

Start Date

Spring/Summer 2019

Postdoc Qualifications

The ideal candidate would have a background in chemical engineering, biomedical engineering, biophysics, biochemistry or related fields. Experience in protein assay development, protein expression and purification, or protein kinetics is desired. The successful candidate will demonstrate depth in quantitative reasoning and multidisciplinary approaches, and be an excellent communicatory and team player.

Tamara L. Kinzer-Ursem
Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering
Andy Hudmon
Medicinal Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology
Fang Huang
Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering 
1. Competitive tuning: Competition's role in setting the frequency-dependence of Ca2+-dependent proteins.
Romano DR, Pharris MC, Patel NM, Kinzer-Ursem TL.
PLoS Comput Biol. 2017 Nov 6;13(11):e1005820. doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1005820. eCollection 2017 Nov.
PMID: 29107982 

2. Active PSF shaping and adaptive optics enable volumetric localization microscopy through brain sections.
Mlodzianoski MJ, Cheng-Hathaway PJ, Bemiller SM, McCray TJ, Liu S, Miller DA, Lamb BT, Landreth GE, Huang F.
Nat Methods. 2018 Aug;15(8):583-586. doi: 10.1038/s41592-018-0053-8. Epub 2018 Jul 16.

3. Fluorescent imaging of protein myristoylation during cellular differentiation and development.
Witten AJ, Ejendal KFK, Gengelbach LM, Traore MA, Wang X, Umulis DM, Calve S, Kinzer-Ursem TL.
J Lipid Res. 2017 Oct;58(10):2061-2070. doi: 10.1194/jlr.D074070. Epub 2017 Jul 28.
PMID: 28754825

4. Structure-Based Target-Specific Screening Leads to Small-Molecule CaMKII Inhibitors.
Xu D, Li L, Zhou D, Liu D, Hudmon A, Meroueh SO.
ChemMedChem. 2017 May 9;12(9):660-677. doi: 10.1002/cmdc.201600636. Epub 2017 Apr 18.
PMID: 28371191 Free PMC Article

5. Ultra-High Resolution 3D Imaging of Whole Cells.
Huang F, Sirinakis G, Allgeyer ES, Schroeder LK, Duim WC, Kromann EB, Phan T, Rivera-Molina FE, Myers JR, Irnov I, Lessard M, Zhang Y, Handel MA, Jacobs-Wagner C, Lusk CP, Rothman JE, Toomre D, Booth MJ, Bewersdorf J.
Cell. 2016 Aug 11;166(4):1028-1040. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2016.06.016. Epub 2016 Jul 7.