Postdoctoral position – Messing laboratory – The University of Texas at Austin

Postdoctoral positions are available to:

  • Study the role of protein kinase C epsilon in models of opioid use disorder. The goal of this work is to expand on preliminary studies indicating that protein kinase C epsilon contributes to aversion during opioid withdrawal. This project includes (1) behavioral assessment of opioid withdrawal conditioned aversion, hyperalgesia and somatic signs, (2) immediate early gene mapping of protein kinase C epsilon dependent circuits, and (3) inhibition of protein kinase C epsilon using shRNAs and selective kinase inhibitors that the lab has developed.
  • Study individual neuropeptides produced by neurons of the central amygdala in animal models of anxiety, fear learning, and drug reward and aversion. This project utilizes Cre driver lines of mice and rats and Cre-dependent shRNAs, actuators, and tracers to identify and manipulate individual neuropeptides and the cells in which they are expressed.

Both projects utilize the lab’s resources and experience in molecular and cell biology, genomics and animal behavior. The lab also has equipment for performing ex vivo slice and cellular electrophysiological studies as needed for these projects.

Our location and resources provide an optimal environment for scientists.  The laboratory is located within the Dell Medical School in the new Health Discovery Building on the UT Austin campus.  Lab space is adjacent to 9 other neuroscience research labs, with shared facilities that include a Nikon Imaging Center, flow cytometry and cell sorting core facility and a newly constructed vivarium in the building. All shared core facilities elsewhere at UT Austin are available for use.  Together, these resources provide opportunities to utilize a variety of approaches including cell culture, molecular biology, genomics, protein chemistry, immunohistochemistry, flow cytometry, small animal surgery, magnetic resonance imaging, behavioral studies, and generation of knockout and transgenic animals.

The Messing lab is part of the Department of Neuroscience (College of Natural Sciences), the Department of Neurology (Dell Medical School), and the Waggoner Center for Alcohol and Addiction Research.  It draws graduate students from two interdisciplinary graduate programs: The Institute for Neuroscience and the Institute for Molecular and Cellular Biology. These groups provide a rich environment for pursuing cross-disciplinary neuroscience research using the latest cutting-edge approaches.

Applicants should have received a PhD in Neuroscience or a related field within the past 3 years, and have experience in cell and molecular biology or rodent behavior.  Experience in electrophysiology would be considered a plus. The applicant must be highly self-motivated and able to work independently as well as in a team.  The applicant also must have excellent time-management and organizational skills, and strong verbal and written communication skills.

Interested candidates should send their application materials (CV, cover letter and contact information for three references) to romessing@austin.utexas.edu.