[Comp-neuro] Postdoctoral position in Computational Neuroscience at IUPUI

Yaroslav Molkov ymolkov at iupui.edu
Fri Feb 27 12:29:31 CET 2015


A postdoctoral/research associate position in computational neuroscience is
available immediately in the NIH funded project focusing on multiscale
computational modeling of interactions between respiratory central pattern
generator and sympathetic nervous system as it relates to neurogenic
hypertension. This collaborative project is performed by the groups of
Yaroslav Molkov (Dept. of Mathematical Science, Indiana University – Purdue
University, Indianapolis, IN, USA), Ana Abdala (University of Bristol, UK)
and Daniel Zoccal (Sao Paulo State University, Brazil).

Excessive sympathetic activity plays a crucial role in the development and
maintenance of hypertension. Such autonomic dysfunction is observed in
hypertensive patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Chronic exposure
to intermittent hypoxia (CIH) that occurs in OSA is the main factor leading
to sympathetic overactivity and hypertension. A CIH-driven increase in
sympathetic output is largely dependent on the emergence of active
expiratory pattern. The respiratory central pattern generator (rCPG) is
composed of two interacting oscillators. The first occupies
Bötzinger/pre-Bötzinger complexes and generates self-sustained respiratory
rhythm controlling the diaphragm to provide inspiration. The second
oscillator, the parafacial respiratory group (pFRG), resides in the
retrotrapezoid nucleus (RTN). The RTN/pFRG oscillations emerge in hypoxic
and hypercapnic conditions, and drive motor output to abdominal muscles for
active (forced) expiration. Interactions of these respiratory circuits with
the sympathetic neurons of the rostral and caudal ventrolateral medulla
evoke respiratory-related oscillations in sympathetic efferent drive.
Exposure to CIH leads to alterations in excitability of RTN/pFRG neuronal
population and/or modifications in synaptic connections between respiratory
oscillators and sympathetic neurons which ultimately results in the
elevated baseline sympathetic activity and arterial pressure. This
interdisciplinary project aims to reveal the mechanisms that couple
breathing and control of blood pressure in the brain in health and disease,
and for the first time translate them into a realistic computational model.
Such a model will have the unprecedented potential for generating effective
non-pharmacological means of controlling blood pressure and breathing via
implantable biofeedback devices (e.g. vagus nerve stimulation) and
non-invasive devices for guided control of autonomic function (e.g.
device-guided paced respiration). Furthermore, it will provide a robust
scientific substrate for evaluating the usefulness and safety of
alternative medicine interventions, such as controlled breathing practices,
for lowering blood pressure and improving heart rate variability.

Applicants must have a PhD degree in Neuroscience, Applied Mathematics,
Physics, or a related discipline and have excellent programming skills
(C++, Matlab, UNIX). Previous experience in computational neuronal modeling
is a plus.

Interested candidates are encouraged to contact Dr. Molkov (
ymolkov at iupui.edu) by email. To apply, please send an email along with (1)
curriculum vitae; (2) a cover letter describing previous research
experience and interests; (3) the names and contact information of three
references. Application processing will begin immediately and the search
will remain open until the position is filled.

Best Regards,

Yaroslav Molkov, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis
Department of Mathematical Sciences
402 N. Blackford St, LD 270, Indianapolis, IN 46202
Office: LD 224U
Phone: (317) 274-6934
Fax: (317) 274-3460
Email: ymolkov at iupui.edu
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