Neuronal networks in vivo: Science, Engineering and Health

Interdisciplinary Areas: Engineering and Healthcare/Medicine/Biology

Project Description

Higher cognitive tasks such as learning and memory are driven by dynamic signaling events between neurons in the brain. In particular, short-term memory is driven by changes in connective strength between 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, imaging technologies and genetic manipulation are making it attainable to describe these highly dynamic systems at resolutions and with quantitative detail not previously possible. Our team of engineers and scientists is seeking a multidiscipline-minded postdoctoral scholar to lead the vision of applying revolutionary imaging technologies, computational modeling, and cutting-edge genetic technologies to describe fundamental processes in neuronal connectivity. These advances will be applied to quantify the relative effects of key cellular and sub-cellular interactions so that therapies can be specifically tailored to address disruptions and dysfunctions that lead to complex learning and memory disorders. Relevant background and interests include, but are not limited to, experience with mouse genetics, targeted genome editing, imaging physics, mathematical aspects of image analysis, and neuronal signaling. 
 
Start Date
 
Spring/Summer 2019
 
Postdoc Qualifications
 
The ideal candidate will have a PhD in electrical engineering, chemical engineering, biomedical engineering, biophysics, neuroscience or other related fields. Other relevant background and interests include, but are not limited to, experience with mouse genetics, targeted genome editing, imaging physics, mathematical aspects of image analysis, and neuronal signaling. The successful candidate will be multi-discipline minded, have deep interested in the BRAIN initiative, be an excellent communicator, and have a strong desire to work as a team player.
 
Co-advisors
 
Tamara Kinzer-Ursem
Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering
tursem@purdue.edu
 
Kevin Webb
Electrical and Computer Engineering
webb@purdue.edu
 
Kaisa Ejendal
Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering
kejendal@purdue.edu 
 
References
 
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. 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
 
3. B. Z. Bentz., T. C. Wu, V. Gaind, and K. J. Webb. "Diffuse optical localization of blood vessels and 3D printing for guiding oral surgery." Appl. Opt. 56(23), 6649-6654 (2017).
 
4. B. Z. Bentz, A. V. Chavan, D. Lin, E. H. Tsai, and K. J. Webb, “Fabrication and Application of Heterogeneous Printed Mouse Phantoms for Whole Animal Optical Imaging. Appl. Opt. 55(2), 280-287 (2016)
 
5. J. A. Newman, Q. Luo, and K. J. Webb, “Imaging Hidden Objects with Spatial Speckle Intensity Correlations over Object Position,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 116, 73902 (2016).
 
6. B.Z. Bentz, A. G. Bowen, D. Lin, D. Ysselstein, D. H. Huston, JC. Rochet, and K. J. Webb. "Printed optics: phantoms for quantitative deep tissue fluorescence imaging." Opt. Lett. 41(22), 5230-5233 (2016).