MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology

Postdoctoral Scientist

MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology

Cambridge, United Kingdom

Postdoctoral Scientist
Starting Salary £30,914 – £33,755 per annum
3 Years Fixed Term
MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, UK

An opportunity is available for a Postdoctoral Scientist to join the group of Dr Marta Zlatic at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology (https://www2.mrc-lmb.cam.ac.uk/group-leaders/t-to-z/marta-zlatic) to investigate the circuit basis of learning and decision-making. The Zlatic Group’s research programme is to discover the basic principles by which neural circuits implement fundamental computations with the specific focus on the circuit implementation of learning and decision-making. We use the tractable genetic model system, the Drosophila melanogaster larva which has the same ground-plan as the adult Drosophila and other insects, but contains fewer (ca. 12,000) and smaller neurons. In this system we can i) image the entire nervous system at synaptic resolution with electron microscopy (EM), and map complete circuits with synaptic resolution, ii) record individual neurons with patch-clamp, iii) constrain models of circuit function with comprehensive structural and functional connectivity maps, and iv) use powerful genetic tools to selectively manipulate individual neurons to test models’ predictions and elucidate the functional roles of specific circuit motifs.

We have already mapped the connectivity of the entire larval brain with synaptic resolution using EM reconstruction. The goal of the project is to determine the features represented by all the neurons in the higher-order learning and decision-making circuits in the brain and the roles of specific neurons and circuit motifs in implementing learning and decision-making. To this end the project will involve some of the following techniques: 1) whole-brain imaging of neural activity in intact animals during learning and decision-making; 2) two-photon imaging of activity in specific neurons in freely behaving animals, 3) modelling; 4) testing models’ predictions by optogenetic manipulation of specific neurons during specific learning and decision-making tasks.

We are looking for two motivated and skilled individuals who will thrive in a highly collaborative and supportive research group. Prior experience in at least one of the following is required: two-photon imaging of neural activity, whole-brain imaging of neural activity using light-sheet microscopy, electrophysiology, performing learning and decision-making assays in Drosophila or other animals, big data analysis, or theoretical neuroscience.

The successful candidates will be awarded a three-year MRC Career Development Fellowship/MRC Postdoctoral Training Scheme, which is a training and development position for a postdoctoral scientist who has recently completed doctoral studies or is moving into a new research discipline.

Informal enquiries can be made to Dr Marta Zlatic at mzlatic@mrc-lmb.cam.ac.uk. Additional information about the Neurobiology Division and the Laboratory as a whole can be found at http://www.mrc-lmb.cam.ac.uk.

The MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology is a research institute within UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). UKRI is a new entity that brings together nine partners to create an independent organisation with a strong voice for research and innovation, more information can be found at www.ukri.org.

Working for UKRI MRC provides a whole host of benefits including a defined benefit pension scheme, excellent holiday entitlement (40 ½ days including bank holidays & privilege days) and Benenden Healthcare membership. You will also have access to employee shopping/travel discounts, on-site sport and social facilities, as well as salary sacrifice cycle to work schemes and childcare vouchers.
To apply and access full details of the vacancy please visit our job board at https://mrc.tal.net/vx/lang-en-GB/appcentre-1/candidate/postings/1416.
If you are unable to apply online please contact us at recruit@mrc-lmb.cam.ac.uk.

Closing date: 14th June 2020

Final appointments will be subject to a pre-employment screening.
The Medical Research Council is an Equal Opportunities Employer who participates in the Disability Confident scheme.

Please apply via recruiter’s website.