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Postdoctoral position available � Neural Systems for Risk Assessment, a Biomarker for Anxiety. Principal investigator: D. Caroline Blanchard, PhD

Posted by: Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas da Universidade de São Paulo |

Posted date: Oct-17-2018

Location: São Paulo, Brazil

 A postdoctoral position is available in the Department of Anatomy at the Institute of Biomedical Sciences – University of São Paulo. As part of our research grant funded by the Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (FAPESP), the aim of the project is to investigate the neural basis of risk assessment (RA), a core component of the evolved defensive response pattern to threat or danger, especially prominent when the threat source or situation is ambiguous or complex. Exaggerated or aberrant RA is functionally similar to rumination, a pattern of persistent, negative, self-referential, and ineffective thinking about potential problems or threats that is common in both anxiety and depression and may be a factor in the high levels of comorbidity between these two disorders. Because anxiety and depression typically manifest at a relatively early age and are often chronic, they constitute an extraordinary illness burden throughout the world. The focus of this project on neural systems underlying RA should provide improved understanding of this specific cognitive/emotional process that is frequently disordered in both conditions, and suggest more specific approaches to treatment.
Subcortical brain systems activated by predator (cat) or conspecific attacker threat have been systematically outlined in the laboratory of Dr. Newton Canteras, in Sao Paulo, along with ascending connections from this system to a cortical network with a critical role in processing predator fear memory. Recent collaborative work (Blanchard and Canteras) indicates that prey confronted with “ambiguous” predators, with which they have only a distant evolutionary history, show much higher levels of RA and many fewer flight or freezing defenses: The associated subcortical activity patterns are similar but not identical to those seen to coevolved predators. Accordingly, this project will use a variety of molecular techniques including c-fos expression, and both chemical and optogenetic inactivation of relevant structures, to track the systems involved in RA of R. norvegicus to a non-coevolved snake predator. Also, time-based comparisons of RA and theta oscillation patterns in conjunction with rapid on-set – off-set inactivation within these systems should enhance understanding of the temporal and neural systems relationships between theta and RA, both potential biomarkers of anxiety. For this project, relevant applicant skills include behavior analysis as well as an array of molecular and electrophysiological techniques, along with an interest in strengthening the validity of translation from animal models to human behavior and psychopathology.
Potential candidates should contact Prof. Caroline Blanchard by e-mail (dcb(at)Hawaii.edu).
Job Title Postdoctoral position available � Neural Systems for Risk Assessment, a Biomarker for Anxiety. Principal investigator: D. Caroline Blanchard, PhD
Post Details
Email dcb(at)hawaii.edu
Employer's Website http://
Job Discipline Job Discipline -> Neuroscience
Job Classification Job Classification -> Postdoctoral Researcher
Job Type Job Type -> Full-time
Location São Paulo, Brazil
Key Words neural systems, anxiety, risk assessment, postdoc
Start Date Jan/Feb 2019
Salary 24.000,00
Deadline Nov-30-2018