The Research Assistant I is part of the Division of Genetic Medicine within the Department of Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and is a key individual contributor responsible for assisting in defining developmental processes that control formation of nerves in the mouse intestine and lower urinary tract. Project work will entail but is not limited to dissection of mouse tissues, operating a cryostat for generation of tissues sections, immunohistochemistry with fluorescent microscopy to capture images of relevant cell types, and dissociation of tissues for single cell RNA-Sequencing. Project responsibilities will include working with mouse lines in a breeding colony including DNA isolation, genotyping, and timed matings. Our team members rotate through maintenance of items for laboratory operation and inventory stocking of supplies/reagents and general use buffers. Reporting directly to the Principle Investigator, the Research Assistant will interact with faculty, staff, and students within the laboratory. If you are interested in a career in medicine or biomedical research, this position is a fantastic opportunity to gain relevant skills and experience that will foster long-term success.
About the Lab:
Our lab is broadly interested in developmental processes that are essential for formation and function of peripheral nervous system ganglia that control visceral organs. We employ the mouse as a model organism and rely on transgenic models to image and isolate neural crest populations that contribute to innervation of the intestine (Musser et al., 2015; May-Zhang et al., 2021) and bladder (Wiese et al., 2017; Deal et al., 2021). We aim to define the role of specific genes in the development of neural connections by using mutant strains to understand how deficits during development predispose to altered function of organs in adult systems. We rely on approaches such as lineage tracing with Cre transgenic lines, confocal microscopy, and single cell RNA-Seq to define the regulatory networks that control when and how neural crest derivatives make cellular decisions to differentiate into one cell type versus another.
Key Functions and Expected Performance:
Conducts Wet Lab Experiments
perform calculations involving molarities, % solutions, serial dilutions, and statistical analysis of experimental results.
participate with maintenance of mouse breeding colony, including performing crosses, DNA isolation, and genotyping.
perform embryological analyses of developing neurons and neuromodulatory cells in wild type and mutant mice using transgenics and Cre-LoxP approaches.
assist in adapting and modifying tissue clearing methods for optimal imaging of neuromodulatory cells in the lower urinary tract.
prepare RNA isolates for RNASeq from flow-sorted cell populations.
assist in laboratory operation and inventory maintenance on a rotating basis with other team members such as stocking lab supplies, reagents, and buffers
perform minor repairs on small equipment or arrange for repairs of essential lab equipment
The Division of Genetic Medicine is established to host both research and clinical research programs focused on the genetic basis of health and disease. The division provides an academic environment enabling researchers to explore new relationships between disease susceptibility and human genetics.
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