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Postdoctoral Training Opportunity – Feinberg School of Medicine, Department of Neurology

A postdoctoral trainee is needed for a neuroscience lab at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Department of Neurology. The Caraveo-Piso laboratory is interested in understanding how calcineurin affects the biological activity of critical substrates at presynaptic terminals to drive changes in vesicle recycling and cytoskeleton; and how these local changes affect receptor trafficking, synapse formation, neuronal arborization to electrophysiological responses. To do so a variety of approaches are used including genetic, biochemical and cell biological techniques across several model systems that span from the baker’s yeast, rodent primary hippocampal and cortical rodent neurons, human iPSC-derived cortical neurons to animal models of two prominent synucleinopathies associated with dementia and cognition: DLB and PDD.

The applicant will participate in either of two projects:

Ykt6 in the secretory pathway; Ykt6 is an essential SNARE highly conserved throughout eukaryotic evolution. The lab recently found that phosphorylation regulated by Ca2+ signaling drives a conformational change that allows Ykt6 to switch from a closed cytosolic to an open membrane-bound form. They showed that phosphorylation is also a critical determinant for Ykt6 vesicular function activities in the secretory and autophagy pathways under normal and α-synuclein conditions. Ykt6 is highly expressed in the hippocampus and the cerebral cortex, yet its function has not been explored in these brain regions. The work will be focused on understanding the role of Ykt6 in memory and learning under normal and in DLB and PDD-like conditions using primary rodent hippocampal neurons, cortical derived human iPSC-derived cortical neurons and in vivo using a conditional Ykt6 knockout mouse.

VPS13C in autophagy and Ca2+-dynamics; Autosomal recessive mutations in VPS13C resulting in loss of function were recently found to lead to early onset Parkinson’s disease (PD). Patients demonstrated rapid and severe disease progression with early cognitive decline and Lewy Body pathology. The lab recently identified Vps13C as a novel interactor of Ykt6. The applicant will investigate a novel role for Vps13C in regulating neuronal autophagy and its functional dependence on Ca2+ dynamics using cortical derived human iPSC-derived cortical neurons.

The postdoctoral trainee will join the group in a fully-funded NIH position. The applicant must be highly motivated, collaborative, and with good communicational skills. Significant tissue culture and microscopy experience is required. Applicants with experience in animal work, culturing human stem cells and CRISPR animal will be preferred.


  • PhD degree in any of these areas: Neuroscience, Cell Biology, Molecular Biology, Biochemistry or Pharmacology.
  • No prior experience in neurodegeneration is required.

Interested Candidates should e-mail a single PDF with a cover letter briefly describing their research interests and qualifications, a curriculum vitae, as well as the names and contact information for three references to Gabriela Caraveo-Piso

Northwestern University is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action Employer of all protected classes, including veterans and individuals with disabilities. Women, underrepresented racial and ethnic minorities, individuals with disabilities, and veterans are encouraged to apply. Hiring is contingent upon eligibility to work in the United States.