The laboratory of Dr. Shai Sabbah in the Department of Medical Neurobiology at the Faculty of Medicine, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, is seeking motivated PhD candidates to study retinal and brain circuits that mediate the effect of abnormal lighting on mood.

Light impacts mood in ways we are only beginning to recognize. The short days of winter can trigger seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Whereas, combining light with antidepressant therapy outperforms antidepressant therapy alone, not only in SAD patients, but also in non-seasonal major depressive disorder (MDD). Thus, light affects mood and can augment antidepressant therapy. However, the mechanisms underlying the effect of light on mood have remained unclear. The recent demonstration that a novel retino-thalamo-frontocortical pathway is necessary and sufficient for the induction of depression by abnormal lighting places us in a unique position to resolve this mystery. Our lab studies the synaptic input, functional organization, and broader behavioral significance of this pathway. The mechanistic insights obtained will pave the way for the development of treatments for diverse light-dependent mood disorders.

We use mouse genetic models and combine: (1) in vitro and in vivo functional imaging and electrophysiology, (2) reconstructions of neural circuits using light and electron microscopy, (3)

optogenetic and chemogenetic manipulations of neural activity, and (4) behavioral analysis.

Successful candidates will show solid communication skills in English, ability to work both independently and as part of a research team, strong scientific motivation, and skill in data processing. Experience in one or more of the following would be an advantage: intracranial surgeries, optogenetics, animal behavioral analysis, two-photon imaging, in vivo electrophysiology, and Matlab or python programing.  

An application package, including a motivation letter, curriculum vitae, list of publications and names of 2-3 referees, should be sent to Dr. Shai Sabbah.

Contact Information

Department of Medical Neurobiology

Faculty of Medicine

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Ein Kerem

P.O. Box 12271, Jerusalem, 9112102 Israel

Phone: +972-2-6758401

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