Seattle, Washington
Posted 11 months ago

We are seeking a Research Associate III with patch-clamp electrophysiology experience to join a new translational project at the Allen Institute for Brain Science that aims to decipher the cellular mechanisms of action of psilocybin (the psychoactive component of magic mushrooms) and related serotonergic compounds on human cortical neuron types. Surprisingly, nothing is known about the cellular level responses of human brain cell types to these substances, which constitutes a critical short-coming given that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted psilocybin Breakthrough Therapy Designation (BTD) for treatment-resistant depression and for major depressive disorders in 2019. Yet psilocybin remains classified as a “Schedule 1” drug in the United States, which means it has no accepted medical use and has a high potential for abuse.

The collective research on psilocybin strongly suggests that neither of these statements apply, and therefore further research is clearly warranted. Furthermore, in order to best inform the development of novel therapeutics, it is crucial to directly test rather than assume conservation of drug action from rodent to human, which forms the central tenet and motivation for this new project. 

The Research Associate III hire will apply single neuron patch-clamp electrophysiology to investigate the physiological properties of specific neuronal cell types in the human and mouse neocortex. It is our goal that the proposed pioneering studies may reveal important new insights on the cellular mechanism of action and therapeutic potential of psilocybin for treating debilitating neurological disorders in humans.

The Allen Institute believes that team science significantly benefits from the participation of diverse voices, experiences and backgrounds. High-quality science can only be produced when it includes different perspectives. We are committed to increasing diversity across every team and encourage people from all backgrounds to apply for this role.

Location: Seattle, Washington, United States

About Us

The mission of the Allen Institute is to unlock the complexities of bioscience and advance our knowledge to improve human health. The Allen Institute for Brain Science looks to accelerate the understanding of how the human brain works in health and disease. Using a big science approach, we generate useful public resources, drive technological and analytical advances, and discover fundamental brain properties through integration of experiments, modeling and theory.

What You’ll Be Doing

  • Build and maintain a state-of-the-art patch-clamp electrophysiology rig
  • Perform single neuron patch-clamp and patch-seq experiments in human and mouse acute brain slices
  • Perform data analysis to correlate physiological, morphological, molecular and synaptic properties within single neurons.
  • On-site laboratory work according to brain tissue availability; evening hours as needed.
  • Uphold rigorous standards, including detailed lab notebook records of all experiments.
  • Contribute to publication of research findings in peer-reviewed journals/scientific conferences.
  • Present a periodic summary of progress to the project leadership and Institute peers.

What We Expect from You

  • Bachelor’s degree in a relevant discipline
  • A minimum of 5 years of relevant bench research experience.
  • Experience with patch-clamp electrophysiology and associated methods.
  • Experience with single cell RNA-sequencing or handling of labile RNA samples.
  • Experience with histology and immunohistochemistry is a plus.
  • Knowledge of brain anatomy and/or neocortical cell types.
  • Highly motivated researcher, comfortable operating independently.
  • Ability to work in a timeline, milestone-driven, and team-centric environment.
  • Excellent organizational and communication skills.
  • Proficiency in MS Office programs.
  • Experience with Python and Jupyter notebooks is strongly preferred.
  • Fine motor movements in fingers/hands to operate computers and other office equipment; lab equipment        

Work Environment

  • Frequently required to sit, stand, walk, stoop, kneel or reach
  • Laboratory atmosphere – possible exposure to chemical, biological or other hazardous substances
  • Due to the nature of the work with tissue, most of the work will be done on-site in the laboratory. Depending on brain tissue availability, this role requires evening hours as needed.

This position is to support a grant and it may terminate at the conclusion of the grant.

It is the policy of the Allen Institute to provide equal employment opportunity (EEO) to all persons regardless of age, color, national origin, citizenship status, physical or mental disability, race, religion, creed, gender, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, genetic information, marital status, status with regard to public assistance, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local law. In addition, the Allen Institute will provide reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals with disabilities.

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