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Job ID: 207569

Postdoctoral Research Scientist
Columbia University Irving Medical Center

Date Posted Mar. 21, 2023
Title Postdoctoral Research Scientist
University Columbia University Irving Medical Center
New York, NY, United States
Department Pathology and Cell Biology
Application Deadline Open until filled
Position Start Date Available Immediately
  • Post-Doc
  • Informatics - All Categories
    Neurodevelopmental Disorders

Job description

The Department of Pathology and Cell Biology at Columbia University Irving Medical Center seeks a highly qualified and motivated postdoctoral scientist to participate in NIH funded studies on the biology of essential tremor (ET) through study of human post-mortem brain specimens. The candidate will work with a collaborative team of researchers in Dr. Faust’s laboratory at Columbia University and will collaborate with Dr. Elan Louis at University of Texas Southwestern. The postdoc will participate in quantitative morphologic analyses in human brain tissue specimens and molecular analyses to map out biological changes in the tremor circuitry that may define disease pathogenesis in ET. The postdoc will utilize digital pathology programs and design machine learning programs to identify synaptic and other pathologic changes across brain regions. In a second project, we are exploring the role of dysregulated ER calcium handling in human ET brain samples and a novel mouse model with tremor using biochemical and morphologic techniques. No animal work is required, but analysis of mouse brain will be compared to human. We are looking for a self-starter with new ideas in the field of neurodegenerative pathology and a highly collaborative person who will bring energy to the lab group. The postdoc will also be involved in grant writing and submissions.

At CUIMC, we stand together because diverse experiences, perspective, and values enrich every dimension of our work. Join our team and see how your unique skills and experiences can create a real impact by changing lives.

Job Function:

  • Analyze stained brain tissue sections with quantitative morphologic methods, including collecting microscopic images (light microscopy, confocal microscopy) and characterizing axonal and synaptic changes and other neuropathological parameters
  • Analyze whole slide scanned digital images using digital image analysis programs
  • Utilize machine learning to design quantitative digital image analyses
  • Perform protein extractions and Western blot analyses of frozen brain tissues
  • Participate in analysis of proteomics data and subsequent validation experiment
  • Organization and interpretation of data from experiments
  • Act as a resource for new team members and provide leadership to develop new protocols
  • Participate in development of funding proposals and manuscripts
  • Purchase necessary laboratory reagents and equipment

Lab Mission/Purpose:

The laboratory of Dr. Phyllis Faust in the Department of Pathology and Cell Biology at Columbia University Medical Center investigates the pathogenesis of essential tremor (ET), a highly prevalent neurological disorder in which the underlying biology remains poorly understood. Our studies draw from the largest repository of autopsy brains from individuals with essential tremor through the Essential Tremor Centralized Brain repository at the NY Brain Bank. This is a joint effort between UT Southwestern and Columbia University investigators in a clinically well characterized, prospectively followed cohort of brain donors, providing a strong basis for determining clinical-pathological correlations.

We have identified degenerative changes in cerebellum as core biologic features in ET, supporting the hypothesis that the cerebellum and Purkinje cell dysfunction are central to tremor generation in ET. We developed a novel approach using statistical comparisons based on composite analyses of multiple quantitative morphological metrics to define disease patterns in cerebellar degenerations. We are currently mapping out the pathological changes in ET versus control autopsy brain specimens across cerebellar functional/anatomical compartments and correlating these changes with ET clinical phenotypes. We are also examining whether degenerative changes in ET may more broadly involve other structures in the cerebello-thalamo-cortical loop and olivo-cerebellar loop, as physiological networks posited to be involved in the origins and propagation of tremor in ET. Morphological studies will be combined with proteomic analyses in key regions of the tremor circuit in ET versus control brains to further identify molecular mechanisms of ET pathogenesis.

A second recently developed project will examine human brain tissues with Western blot analyses for molecules involved in calcium handling in endoplasmic reticulum, in cerebellum and other brain regions. In a novel mouse model with tremor, we will examine morphologic changes in the brain that occur with ER calcium dysregulation.



Minimum Skills Required:

  • Experience with immunohistochemistry
  • Experience with quantitative microscopic analyses
  • Experience with protein extraction and Western blot analysis
  • High level computer skills, including knowledge of statistical analyses and digital pathology programs
  • Understanding of machine learning utilization in digital pathology programs
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills; highly self-motivated
  • Ability to multi-task and work on multiple projects simultaneously
  • Demonstrated organizational skills and ability to pay close attention to detail
  • Accurate, detailed data and record keeping
  • Ability to work independently to design, execute and interpret experiments.

Minimum Education Requirements:

PhD in neuroscience, biology, biomedical science or comparable scientific field, that has been conferred

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Background in Neuroscience is preferred, with knowledge of neuroanatomy
  • Experience with digital microscopic image analyses that may include machine learning and/or programming, and bioinformatic analyses
  • Coding capabilities with R, Python or MatLab
  • Ability to read scientific literature and adapt/design new protocols
  • Prior history of publications and at least 1 first author paper

Application Instructions

Hiring Salary Range:

  • Postdoctoral Research Scientist: $61,500-$75,000

The salary of the finalist selected for this role will be set based on a variety of factors, including but not limited to departmental budgets, qualifications, experience, education, licenses, specialty, and training. The above hiring range represents the University’s good faith and reasonable estimate of the range of possible compensation at the time ofposting.

In order to apply please visit:

  • Columbia University is an Equal Opportunity Employer / Disability / Veteran

Please reference in your cover letter when
applying for or inquiring about this job announcement.

Contact Information

  • Susan Ceballo
    Pathology and Cell Biology
    Columbia University Irving Medical Center
    New York, NY 10032
  • 212-305-7164


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