Postdoctoral Associate, Wickersham Lab

Massachusetts, United States
30 Jan 2020
End of advertisement period
30 Mar 2020
Academic Discipline
Life sciences, Biological Sciences
Contract Type
Full Time

Working at MIT offers opportunities, an environment, a culture – and benefits – that just aren’t found together anywhere else. If you’re curious, motivated, want to be part of a unique community, and help shape the future – then take a look at this opportunity.

POSTDOCTORAL ASSOCIATEMcGovern Institute for Brain Research, to join the Wickersham Lab (aka the Genetic Neuroengineering Group) and develop next-generation viral tracing and transduction technologies for neuroscience. The highest-priority projects entail developing and validating nontoxic monosynaptic tracing systems that will allow optogenetic manipulation, functional imaging, and transcriptomic profiling of identified synaptically-connected networks of neurons. Understanding the detailed organization of any part of the nervous system requires revealing the "wiring diagram" of synaptic connections between neurons. Monosynaptic tracing based on deletion-mutant rabies virus has become a key tool for this, allowing labeling of neurons directly presynaptic to a targeted neuronal population or even a single neuron. However, all published monosynaptic tracing to date has used "first-generation" rabies viruses, which derange and usually kill infected neurons. To address the problem of toxicity, the group recently published "second-generation" rabies viral vectors, which cause no detectable toxicity, and has now developed (and are preparing for publication) a complete monosynaptic tracing system based on these viruses. It has also developed third-and fourth-generation vectors which should have several advantages over even the second-generation system.  The postdoc will spearhead the development and validation of (in particular) fourth-generation nontoxic monosynaptic tracing systems of the inputs, and potentially, outputs. There are also a number of other possible projects, depending on the background and strengths of the candidate. 

Job Requirements

REQUIRED: a Ph.D. or its equivalent in biology, neuroscience, biological engineering, or related discipline. A strong molecular biology background and/or strong in vivo experience (particularly multiphoton imaging and/or whole-cell electrophysiology) is desirable. Job #18219

In addition to applying online via the MIT website, please submit a CV and cover letter to Ian Wickersham at

The position is funded by NIH BRAIN Initiative grants for three years, although obtaining external fellowships is always encouraged.

MIT is an equal employment opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment and will not be discriminated against on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, age, genetic information, veteran status, ancestry, or national or ethnic origin.

MIT considers equivalent combinations of experience and education for certain jobs. All candidates who believe they possess equivalent experience and education are encouraged to apply.