We are actively searching for lab members of all career levels.
As a part of Janelia’s Mechanistic Cognitive Neuroscience research area, new lab members will work in close collaboration with other Janelia labs, project teams, and Janelia Experimental Technology (jET) to develop and utilize cutting-edge tools to achieve own research goals.
- Two-photon microscope for calcium and fluorescent life time imaging microscopy (FLIM) for visualizing biochemical events underlying synaptic plasticity.
- Virtual olfactory maze set up under a two-photon microscope for monitoring the activity of neurons while flies are retrieving memories and performing memory-based action selection.
- Expansion and lattice light sheet microscope for studying the cell biology of memory engrams.
- Tools to degrade/inhibit proteins at subcellular specificity.
- CRISPR knock-in of tags and nanobody screening to localize and manipulate marked proteins.
- EM connectome by the FlyEM team.
- Fully automated optogenetic olfactory arena.
- Genetic tools to access to memory engram cells.
- RNA-sequencing from memory engram cells during learning.
- Thousands of cell type-specific genetic driver lines.
- Experience with neuroscience and Drosophila is welcome, but not required.
- We highly appreciate strong backgrounds in optics, live imaging, cell biology, biochemistry, molecular biology, and quantitative analysis of images and behaviors.
- We are primarily searching for postdocs or senior researchers, but candidates of other career stages are also welcome.
Every summer, we accommodate an undergraduate student for 10 weeks through the Janelia Undergraduate Scholars program.
PhD students may join our lab through the Joint Graduate Program with Johns Hopkins University.
The Janelia Visiting Scientists program allows us to fund a student or postdoc for one year, with a subsequent opportunity to join our lab. PhD students interested in doing thesis research at Janelia should apply directly to our Janelia Graduate Research Fellowship.
What is our lab working on?
Our lab seeks to understand the molecular and circuit mechanisms used to store information in parallel memory units and how these memories are integrated to guide action selection. We will use the Drosophila mushroom body (MB), a key center for associative learning in insect brains, as a model system.
Sparse activity in the 2,000 Kenyon cells of the MB represents the identity of sensory stimuli. Along the parallel axonal fibers of Kenyon cells, dopaminergic neurons (DANs) and MB output neurons form 16 matched compartmental units. These anatomically defined units are also functional units of associative learning: reward and punishment activate distinct subsets of DANs, and individual types of DANs independently write and update memories in each unit with cell-type-specific rules (i.e. different learning rate, decay dynamics, storage capacity and flexibility to learn new associations).
We will now study biochemical and cell biological features that enable dopamine neurons to produce diverse forms of synaptic plasticity underlying distinct learning rules in different memory units. Recently, we found cell-type-specific cotransmitters of DANs.
How to apply
If you are interested in applying or have any questions, please contact Yoshinori Aso.
We are searching for members who can start in the Fall of 2018 to early 2019.
Applications will be reviewed until the positions are filled.