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Research Assistant in Molecular Neuroscience

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Projects are available to investigate the function of genes that regulate excitatory and inhibitory synapses in cortical circuits relevant to autism. One project focuses on defining novel molecular mechanisms of the high confidence autism spectrum gene Ankyrin2 (Ank2) using mouse genetic models. Training will involve biochemical/cell biological analysis of protein-protein interactions by Western blotting, site directed mutagenesis of autism-related cDNAs, and cultures of mouse cortical neurons. A key focus of the lab is understanding the molecular mechanism by which Neural Cell Adhesion Molecules regulate dendritic spines and synapses during the adolescent to adult transition. Genes encoding Neuron-Glial related CAM (NrCAM), L1, and NCAM are linked to autism, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder. These CAMs reversibly engage the spectrin-actin adaptor protein AnkyrinB, which encoded by the autism-linked Ank2 gene but the function of these interactions remain to be elucidated.

Faculty Advisor
Patricia Maness, PhD, Professor
Research Supervisor
Patricia Maness, PhD, Professor
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