Neuroscience of Alcohol Addiction Research Opportunity

A position is available as a volunteer research assistant to work in the addiction neuroscience laboratory of Dr. L. Judson Chandler at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). The Chandler Laboratory is interested in understanding how alcohol effects brain function and behavior. The lab uses state-of-the-art neuroscience techniques (eg, optogenetics, chemogenetics, calcium imaging, electrophysiology, etc.) and rodent (rats, mice) behavioral models to investigate how alcohol alters brain circuitry and behavior and test whether we can prevent/reverse these alterations through various interventions.

Click “Read More” to read about the qualifications and responsibilities associated with this opportunity.

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Eligible students must be available for at least 15 hours/week to work in the lab. Background in neuroscience, biology, or psychology is encouraged, but not required (ie, some of our data analysis occurs in Python and MATLAB, which may be of interest to students with computer science/programming backgrounds). Ideal candidates should be in good academic standing, exhibit an interest in learning, possess a strong work ethic, and be able to work independently and communicate with others effectively.

*Following acceptance of this position, self-motivated students who exhibit reliable work performance over time and demonstrate an interest in expanding their initial responsibilities may transition to a paid volunteer status. An additional long-term goal is that exceptional students may have the opportunity to design and perform experiments, under the guidance of Mr. Nentwig and Dr. Chandler, necessary to complete a senior/honors thesis during their time in the lab.

Initial responsibilities will include helping with ongoing experiments and learning basic operating procedures. Based on student interest and performance, they may narrow their focus to learning specific techniques and/or working on specific experiments to achieve a more focused research experience. Below is a list of categories of potential techniques available to learn/perform. Some examples of explicit tasks associated with each technique are listed within each category.

Brain tissue processing: Rodent brain sectioning, performing immunohistochemistry; using fluorescent microscopy to visualize various brain proteins

Behavioral models of alcohol use: Optimizing parameters for a rat model of seeking and consuming alcohol; Handling and habituating rats to experimental environments

Optogenetics/Fiber photometry: Constructing optic fibers ands patch cord cables for optogenetics and fiber photometry studies

Data Analysis: Collecting, recording, and graphing data; Learn basic statistics concepts necessary to analyze data

Literature Review: Reading and summarizing primary research articles related to the scientific research questions and techniques used in our research experiments.

Interested students should contact Todd B. Nentwig at nentwig@musc.edu.

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