Proper brain function is mediated by neurons and shaped by glial cells. Astrocytes are glial cells in the brain that have many roles during development and in the mature brain.
Our lab studies the fascinating changes that astrocytes undergo in neurological disease or when the brain is injured by trauma.
We ask how these changes affect astrocyte functions:
(1) at the synapse where astrocytes are responsible for maintaining ion and neurotransmitter homeostasis
(2) at the network level - Do local changes in astrocyte function affect neuronal network function?
(3) at the vasculature where astrocytes contribute to maintenance of the blood-brain barrier and regulation of blood flow.
We study how cellular changes affect astrocyte physiology in the context of brain injury or disease and if these may contribute to neurodegeneration and dementia.
We do have positions open for undergraduate students (consult Student Research before reaching out), rotation students, graduate students and postdocs.
The most important qualification is alignment with our team values.
To give you an idea: These include dedication to personal development and continued growth, a fast pace at work with attention to detail and a high quality work product, the ability to change and pivot depending on the demands of the project or the needs of the team. We only work with team players, people who are comfortable with, excited about and energized by interacting with their colleagues - a lot! Team members have high levels of energy and focus, and the flexibility and willingness to finish high quality work when deadlines approach. People on my team are problem-solvers and hungry for achievement yet not competitive in the sense that they build the highest tower by knocking everyone else’s down. In my lab, we work in teams a lot and while everyone has individual projects the expectation is that team projects and service to the team are a high priority. Team members have an intrinsic drive for excellence and self-motivate. They are highly organized and excellent at time management so that they can balance their own projects and priorities with team projects and responsibilities.
If you believe you are a fit I’d like you to write a few paragraphs describing the last 5 books you read on personal development, the biggest challenge that you have encountered in your career or life and how you dealt with it, how you interact with people who you don’t like and where you see yourself in one year if this were the best year of your life and all you can possibly dream of to accomplish works out.
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Blood vessels are covered by amyloid plaques in Alzheimer Disease affecting how the brain is supplied with oxygen.
Our recent cover article in The Journal of Neuroscience showing that mild concussive brain injury is sufficient to cause seizures and that astrocytes are likely at the root of the issue.