03 July 2010

New academic summary (update 4)

I just finished writing a new 'academic objectives' blurb for my university, Mendeley and Academia.edu profiles. Constructive criticism warmly welcomed.
I'm a DPhil (PhD) student in my final year at the University of Sussex (UK). I'm looking for a post-doctoral research position in the United States or Canada where I can continue working in electrophysiology and learn optogenetic techniques. I'm interested in how brains generate, select and maintain adaptive neural and behavioural activity. This process, particularly the often central role of dopamine-mediated reward-learning, is fascinating in its own right because it's intrinsic to how our lives develop, but its breakdown is also the hallmark of a wide range of psychiatric conditions in urgent need of effective medical treatment.
For my PhD I have developed a multielectrode technique to interface with a semi-intact invertebrate preparation and study the effects of sensory input, neuromodulators and electrical current on the brain's dynamic repertoire and adaptive output (Harris et al., 2010). Moving forward I want to learn techniques to interface with the mammalian brain and contribute to the development of models and technologies to help patients achieve adaptive neural and behavioural activity; control brain-computer interfaces for example or overcome maladaptive patterns of behaviour. I'm particularly interested in optogenetic photo-stimulation techniques, which have yet to reach clinical trials but already show extraordinary potential to address the theoretical and medical problems I want to work with, including dopamine-mediated reward-learning (e.g. Tsai et al., 2009; Bass et al., 2010).
References: Harris et al (2010) J Neurosci Methods 186:171-8. Tsai et al (2009) Science 324;5930:1080-4. Bass et al (in press) J Neurochem.
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