PhD or Master's students: Flexibility in Neural Circuits

Department of Biology/Center for Neuroscience

Miami University, Oxford OH

The laboratory of Dr. Dawn Blitz (www.thecrablab.com) is currently recruiting graduate students interested in learning anatomical and electrophysiological approaches to studying the neural basis of behavior in a well-defined system. We are interested in how the nervous system selects a particular version of a behavior (i.e., walking versus running, different versions of chewing) at the level of neural circuits.

Ongoing research includes determining the (1) role of circuit feedback to circuit inputs, and (2) structural and functional organization of sensory pathways that converge onto inputs to a circuit.  We address these questions at multiple levels from single neurons to circuits to muscle activity patterns.  To address these issues, we use the crustacean stomatogastric nervous system, due to its many experimental advantages and the fact that it operates comparably to larger, mammalian circuits.  Our electrophysiological approaches include extracellular and intracellular recordings from identified circuit neurons and circuit inputs. The intracellular recordings enable current-, voltage- and dynamic- clamp techniques. We combine these techniques with anatomical approaches (e.g., immunocytochemistry, single neuron dye-fills, tract tracing and confocal microscopy) to better understand how the nervous system selects appropriate outputs.

Students accepted into the program will be supported by a graduate student stipend and tuition waver.  Please contact Dr. Blitz (Dawn.Blitz@MiamiOH.edu) for further information on potential projects and/or application information. Also, the lab will be presenting work at the upcoming FUN Poster Session (Poster #94) and Society for Neuroscience Meeting (Posters 828.08 & 828.22) and we would be happy to talk with any interested potential applicants.