Postdoctoral position - Synapse development and homeostasis/ Cellular aging and tissue homeostasis

National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
Bethesda, Maryland
The NIH salaries are competitive and depend upon qualifications.
March 08 2021
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type
Job Type

Two postdoctoral research positions are open in the laboratory of Dr. Mihaela Serpe, Neurosciences and Cellular and Structural Biology Division. Our group studies mechanisms of synapse assembly, maturation and homeostasis. We investigate how glutamate receptors are recruited and stabilized at synaptic sites using the Drosophila neuromuscular junction (NMJ) as model system for glutamatergic synapse development. Our lab discovered that synaptic trafficking, stabilization and function of fly NMJ receptors require an essential auxiliary protein, Neto. We are currently examining how Neto-mediated interactions control synapse assembly, maintenance and plasticity. We are also investigating how signaling by Bone Morphogenetic Proteins (BMPs) coordinates NMJ growth and synapse activity. Much of our work aims to describe, in molecular terms, how intracellular and trans-synaptic signaling enable the recruitment of synaptic components and receptor function at the developing synapse. Our group addresses the mechanisms underlying these processes using multidisciplinary approaches, including genetics, molecular and cellular biology, super resolution imaging, single cell RNA sequencing and electrophysiology recordings in live animals and reconstituted systems. This lab is located in the Porter Neuroscience Research Center, a highly interactive research environment within the main NIH campus. For more information, please see Cell Reports 2020, 32: 107866, PLoS Genetics 2016, 12: e1005810, PNAS 2015,112: 6182, Neuron 2016, 92: 1036, eLife 2018, 7: e35518. These positions require a strong background in cell biology, biochemistry or electrophysiology. Electrophysiologists interested in receptor gating mechanisms are particularly encouraged to apply.

The laboratory of Dr. Mary Dasso, Division of Molecular and Cellular Biology, is seeking a highly motivated postdoctoral fellow for a position in cellular aging and tissue homeostasis. Tissue homeostasis requires a precise balance between the production of new cells and the elimination of old or damaged cells. The midgut of the fly Drosophila melanogaster is an important and well-studied model system for understanding tissue homeostasis during aging, and it. shows many similarities to the human intestine. Within the fly midgut, controlled intestinal stem cell (ISC) proliferation produces committed non-dividing enteroblasts (EBs), that ultimately mature into adult enterocytes (ECs). We have analyzed the gene expression program during midgut aging in flies and observed that it becomes disrupted through a block of the EB-EC transition, causing the epithelium to become populated by undifferentiated EBs and old, unreplenished ECs. These changes in turn produce a morphology of intestinal dysplasia and progressive loss of apico-basal epithelium organization with age. The candidate will extend these studies through genetic and histological analysis of mutants in which the transcriptional program of the aging midgut is genetically disrupted. The goal of these studies is to understand the transcriptional program of cellular aging in flies, allowing application of this knowledge toward analysis of mammalian intestinal tissue homeostasis and its disruption during disease. For more information, please see iScience 2020, 23:100954, Science 2014, 345: 1512.

The National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) is a premier venue for scientific discovery. The candidates will work in a vibrant research environment amongst investigators, students and postdoctoral fellows pursuing a wide variety of related biological questions.

Applicants must have a doctoral degree with less than five years of postdoctoral experience. The ideal candidates will have a solid publication record, demonstrating a record of productivity, scientific rigor and creativity. Strong communication skills are required, as is the ability to work both independently and as part of a team. Highly motivated individuals with experience in Drosophila biology are encouraged to apply. Salary is negotiable, depending upon qualifications. US citizenship or permanent residency is not required.

Inquiries regarding these positions should be directed to Drs. M. Serpe (, M. Dasso ( and A. Arnaoutov ( To apply, please submit a brief statement of research interests, CV, and the names of three or more references.

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