Assistant Professor - Animal Models of Neurological Disease

The Department of Biology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst invites applications for a tenure-track position at the rank of Assistant Professor. Under exceptional circumstances, highly qualified candidates at other ranks may receive consideration. The successful candidate will be a part of the Institute for Applied Life Sciences (IALS), which has a primary goal of developing translational research programs and fostering interactions with industry.
 
We seek highly innovative candidates who are exploring neurological disease using clinically relevant models, spanning invertebrates to non-human primates. We are particularly interested in candidates whose research focus complements existing departmental and campus strengths, including neuroendocrinology, cytoskeletal dynamics, protein homeostasis, immunology, and neurodevelopment. Given the mission of the Institute for Applied Life Sciences, the successful candidate will establish and maintain a research program with direct relevance to issues of human health, yielding important mechanistic insight into diseases affecting the nervous system. Possible areas of research could include neurodegenerative diseases, stroke, traumatic brain injury, autism, or neuropsychiatric disorders.
 
IALS and the UMass Amherst campus are committed to the development of translational and basic research programs while fostering interactions with industry, with substantial faculty hiring in the next two years. A simultaneous search focused on cellular models of neurological diseases is underway in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. The new faculty member will collaborate with IALS faculty to translate research results into therapeutic goals, interact with industry scientists, and provide essential training for the next generation of biomedical scientists. New faculty members will also be able to take full advantage of the IALS substantial new investments in campus infrastructure and core facilities (see http://www.umass.edu/ials/core-facilities for more details).

Qualified candidates must have a Ph.D. in a closely related field, postdoctoral experience, and outstanding potential to establish a translational neuroscience research program. Life sciences faculty members at UMass can train students from several interdepartmental graduate programs, and the successful candidate will be expected to participate in teaching at the graduate and undergraduate levels.

Review of applications will begin on November 1, 2016 and will continue until the position is filled.
Online applications should include a cover letter, CV, research plan, teaching statement, and the contact information for three references.

http://umass.interviewexchange.com/jobofferdetails.jsp?JOBID=77115

The University of Massachusetts Amherst the flagship campus of the University of Massachusetts system, is a nationally ranked public research university and home to over 22,000 undergraduate and 6,000 graduate students. The 1,430 acre campus is located in the scenic Pioneer valley of western Massachusetts, 90 miles from Boston and 175 miles from New York City. UMass Amherst, along with Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke and Smith Colleges, is a member of the Five College Consortium and the Academic Career network. The region boasts a rural setting with easy access to Boston, Hartford, and New York City. Amherst is nestled between the Berkshire Mountains, Holyoke Range and Pelham Hills providing many recreational opportunities. 

The university is committed to active recruitment of a diverse faculty and student body. The University of Massachusetts Amherst is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer of women, minorities, protected veterans, and individuals with disabilities and encourages applications from these and other protected group members. Because broad diversity is essential to an inclusive climate and critical to the University's goals of achieving excellence in all areas, we will holistically assess the many qualifications of each applicant and favorably consider an individual's record working with students and colleagues with broadly diverse perspectives, experiences, and backgrounds in educational, research or other work activities. We will also favorably consider experience overcoming or helping others overcome barriers to an academic degree and career.

Distinguished Faculty Lecture: Duncan J. Irschick

Nature-inspired solutions are being discovered for some of the most intransigent problems that society faces, such as potential cures for cancer from animal and plants, novel antibiotics, and gecko-inspired adhesives. This “bioinspired” approach applies integrative methods from anatomy, animal function, evolution, and biomechanics to understand how animals evolve novel biomaterials and functions, and how these properties can inspire novel synthetic materials. This lecture will discuss how studies of the form and function of geckos has contributed to a broader understanding of bioinspiration.

The lecture will further focus on recent research using 3-D imaging techniques to digitally reconstruct living animals, ranging from lizards to sharks in full 3-D color and in high resolution. This new method of “Digital Life” provides the opportunity to understand biological diversity in a way never before possible.

Professor Irschick will be presented with the Chancellor’s Medal, the highest recognition bestowed to faculty by the campus, at the conclusion of the lecture.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016 in the Bernie Dallas Room, Goodell Building, 4 P.M. This lecture is free and open to the public. Reception follows the lecture.

BITTMAN RECEIVES EXPLORATORY GRANT TO STUDY BRAIN'S MASTER CLOCK

Neurobiologist Eric Bittman, biology, has received a two-year, $420,000 exploratory grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke to study how the master clock in the brain talks to other neurons and how it controls a variety of organs including the heart, lung and liver.

Circadian rhythms are internally generated cycles that repeat at 24-hour intervals in the normal, fluctuating environment but which persist with a slightly shorter or longer period in constant conditions, he explains. Many physiological events, including body temperature, sleep and wakefulness, heart rate and blood pressure show circadian rhythms. Other events that recur at longer intervals, including reproductive cycles, are based on the daily circadian clock.

Although the brain has a master pacemaker located in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) of the hypothalamus, every cell in the body also has an autonomous circadian clock, Bittman says. “What attracts my attention is how the body manages to coordinate these many rhythms in the lung, the liver, the heart and in other muscles, how enzymes and genes interact as control mechanisms and how one little part of the hypothalamus keeps everything running on time.”

Read more UMass News & Media Relations article

ZEBRAFISH GIVES PROFESSOR DOWNES CLUES INTO HUMAN DISEASE

Professor Downes rushes into his laboratory, his mind whirring with possibilities for research that could lead to cures for diseases. “Sometimes I forget to say, ‘Hi,’” says the professor of neurobiology. “I just say, ‘Here is what we need to do.’"

Downes obviously is a man on a mission - actually several missions. With the help of a 10-member lab team and thousands of zebrafish, an ideal animal for studying neurobiology, Downes investigates neurological diseases with an eye toward finding treatments. As a professor, he wants to do more than teach biology; he wants his students to be critical and strategic thinkers. He selects undergraduates and offers them meaningful research experiences that give them an advantage in applying to medical school, graduate school, or the workforce. It is also important to him to reach out to the community to give young people an image of a scientist unlike Einstein or Doc Brown from the Back to the Future movies.

At 45, he has made quick work toward his goals. In one breakthrough, his experiments found zebrafish models that can be used to develop new treatments for maple syrup urine disease (MSUD), a rare neurometabolic disorder that can be fatal. He is establishing new animal models to study epilepsy and a disorder that combines symptoms of autism and epilepsy. Last year, he and colleagues were awarded an $824,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study zebrafish to better understand how the brain stem controls movement. The research uses an integrated genetic, molecular, cellular, and behavioral approach to reveal how brain stem neurons integrate sensory information and control locomotion. Basic research into cellular and molecular mechanisms of brain circuitry is essential to deeper understanding of how brains work, leading to new therapies to treat neurological disease.

Read more UMass News & Media Relations article

Read more UMass Magazine Fall 2016article

Lecturer Search - 3 Positions

Three Lecturer Positions in Biology
University of Massachusetts Amherst

The Department of Biology (www.bio.umass.edu/biology) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst seeks to hire three academic year, full-time Lecturer positions with expertise and/or teaching experience in one or more of the following areas:
• General animal physiology, neurobiology
• Cellular and molecular biology
• Genetics
• Introductory biology

These are benefited 2-year positions and renewable contingent upon performance. Lecturers at the University of Massachusetts are unionized with the potential for long-term careers with promotional advancement.

Successful candidates will have experience teaching in the lower division undergraduate curriculum for life-science majors and an interest in joining a team of instructors dedicated to innovative, evidence-based pedagogical approaches for large-classroom settings.

A Ph.D. in Biology or a closely-related field is required and postdoctoral experience is preferred. Salary will be commensurate with skills and experience. Please apply by the priority date of December 15, 2016 to ensure that your application receives consideration. The earliest start date will be September 1, 2017.

Online applications should include curriculum vitae, a statement of teaching philosophy and interests, and the contact information for three references. Electronic applications are to be submitted at URL:

http://umass.interviewexchange.com/jobofferdetails.jsp?JOBID=78837

The University of Massachusetts Amherst, the flagship campus of the University of Massachusetts system, is a nationally ranked public research university and home to over 22,000 undergraduate and 6,000 graduate students. UMass Amherst, along with Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke and Smith Colleges, is a member of the Five College Consortium and the Academic Career network. The 1,430 acre campus is located in the scenic Pioneer valley of western Massachusetts and boasts a rural setting with easy access to Boston, Hartford, and New York City. Amherst is nestled between the Berkshire Mountains, Holyoke Range and Pelham Hills providing many recreational opportunities.

The University is committed to active recruitment of a diverse faculty and student body. The University of Massachusetts Amherst is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer of women, minorities, protected veterans, and individuals with disabilities and encourages applications from these and other protected group members. Because broad diversity is essential to an inclusive climate and critical to the University's goals of achieving excellence in all areas, we will holistically assess the many qualifications of each applicant and favorably consider an individual's record working with students and colleagues with broadly diverse perspectives, experiences, and backgrounds in educational, research or other work activities. We will also favorably consider experience overcoming or helping others overcome barriers to an academic degree and career.