Neuroscience News Spring 2005

Published by the UCLA Brain Research Institute
Spring, 2005
Volume 14, No. 2

Table of Contents




    The Brain Research Institute welcomes its newest members, Dr. Douglas Black, Professor of Microbiology, Immunology & Molecular Genetics, and Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; Dr. Joanna Jen, Associate Professor of Neurology; Dr. H. Ronald Kaback, Professor of Physiology, Microbiology and Molecular Genetics; Dr. Ira Kurtz, Professor of Medicine, Division of Nephrology; Dr. Karen Lyons, Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology, and Biological Chemistry; and Dr. Eric Vilain, Associate Professor of Human Genetics, Pediatrics, and Urology.

    Douglas L. Black received a Ph.D. degree in molecular biophysics and biochemistry from Yale University in 1988. He then completed postdoctoral studies at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he conducted investigations on the regulation of pre-mRNA splicing. Dr. Black joined UCLA in 1992, and is currently a Professor of Microbiology, Immunology & Molecular Genetics, and an Investigator in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

    The Black laboratory is interested in the regulation of pre-mRNA splicing and the biochemical mechanisms that control changes in splice sites. Alternative splicing is a common feature of metazoan gene expression; changes in splicing pattern allow the production of multiple mRNAs and hence multiple proteins from a single gene. The question of how protein number can be greater than gene number has come into prominence with the completion of the metazoan genome sequences and their relatively low gene numbers. Alternative splicing, a major contributor to protein diversity, is poorly understood mechanistically. This creates significant problems for the prediction of protein sequence from genome sequence. Alternative splicing is particularly common in genes expressed in the mammalian nervous system, where many proteins important for neuronal differentiation and function are made in diverse isoforms through controlled changes in splicing. 

    The Black laboratory works on several projects related to the control of pre-mRNA splicing in neurons. One major endeavor aims to identify splicing regulatory molecules and to determine their mechanisms of action. This uses the neural-specific N1 exon of the c-src gene as a model. A second effort is directed at understanding how cell signaling pathways impact the splicing reaction. This project focuses on the effect of cell excitation on the splicing of ion channel transcripts and the role of these splicing changes in neuronal plasticity. Other current interests include developing oligonucleotide microarrays to assay splicing, and examining the biological role of specific splicing factors in knockout mice.

    Joanna C. Jen received a Ph.D. degree in 1991, and an M.D. degree in 1992, from Yale University. She completed an internship in medicine at Oregon Health Sciences University, and a residency in neurology at UCLA. In 1996, Dr. Jen was appointed as a clinical instructor in neurology at UCLA, during which time she also completed fellowships in neuro-otology with Dr. Robert Baloh, physiology with Dr. Diane Papazian, and human genetics with Dr. Stan Nelson. Dr. Jen is currently an Associate Professor of Neurology.

    Dr. Jen is interested in the molecular mechanisms of neurological disorders. "I am a neurotologist with a special interest in using genetic clues to unravel the molecular mechanisms that control balance and eye movement. There are four ongoing projects in my laboratory, all of which are clinically driven to enhance our understanding of disease mechanisms to develop rational treatment. In one project, carried out in close collaboration with Drs. Robert Baloh, Diane Papazian, and Stan Nelson, we use a combination of genetic, biochemical, cell biological, and electrophysiological techniques to examine how mutations in a gene encoding a neuronal calcium channel subunit can cause vertigo and ataxia, as well as hemiplegic migraine, congenital myasthenia, and epilepsy. Our study of diseases associated with defective calcium channels has led us to examine ion pumps, transporters, and other membrane proteins in adult and pediatric patients with paroxysmal neurological disorders reminiscent of channelopathies. Another project focuses on the genetic causes of benign recurrent vertigo in relationship to migraine. In a third project, we recently discovered a roundabout gene that is important in human brain development; efforts are underway to investigate how mutations in this gene lead to horizontal gaze palsy and progressive scoliosis. In another project, our encounter with a family with an unusual hereditary stroke syndrome has prompted us to try to identify the underlying genetic defect that results in leaky capillaries causing retinopathy, nephropathy, and stroke."

    H. Ronald Kaback received an M.D. degree from Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. He then completed postgraduate studies in the Department of Pediatrics at the Bronx Municipal Hospital Center, and studies in the Department of Physiology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Dr. Kaback first served as a Commissioned Officer at USPHS, and then joined the Laboratory of Biochemistry at the National Heart Institute, NIH. He then joined the Roche Institute in New Jersey, while holding concurrent appointments at Columbia University, City University of New York, and New Jersey Medical School. Dr. Kaback moved to Los Angeles in 1989 and joined UCLA as Professor of Physiology, and Microbiology and Molecular Genetics.

    Dr. Kaback’s research focuses on the structure and mechanism of ion-coupled secondary active transport proteins. "The lactose permease of Escherichia coli (LacY), a particularly well-studied representative of the Major Facilitator Superfamily (MFS), is solely responsible for all translocation reactions catalyzed by the galactoside transport system in E. coli. Like many members of the MFS, LacY couples the free energy released from downhill translocation of protons in response to a proton electrochemical gradient to drive the energetically uphill stoichiometric accumulation of D-galactopyranosides. The x-ray structure of LacY mutant C154G in an inward-facing conformation was solved at a resolution of 3.5 Å, confirming many conclusions derived from biochemical and biophysical studies carried out over the past 20 years. The molecule is composed of N- and C-terminal domains, each with six transmembrane helices, symmetrically positioned within the molecule. A large internal hydrophilic cavity is exposed to the cytoplasm, and ligand is bound at the two-fold axis of symmetry at the apex of the hydrophilic cavity and in the approximate middle of the molecule. By combining a large body of experimental data derived from systematic studies of site-directed mutants, residues involved in substrate binding and proton translocation have been identified, and based on the functional properties of the mutants and the x-ray structure, a working model for the mechanism has been postulated. Clearly, an alternative, outward-facing conformation open to the periplasmic side is absolutely required for substrate transport across the membrane. A simulation of the outward-facing conformation has been constructed on the basis of structurally flexibility, ligand-induced increase in the reactivity of certain Cys-replacement mutants in the periplasmic region of LacY with N-ethylmaleimide (NEM) and a discrepancy between distances in the crystal structure and distances approximated from thiol-cross-linking across the hydrophilic cavity facing the cytoplasm. Based on these considerations as a whole, it was postulated that LacY contains a single binding site with alternating access to either side of membrane during turnover, and supporting evidence has been presented."

    Ira Kurtz received an M.D. degree from the University of Toronto Medical School in Ontario, Canada and then completed an internship and residency in the Department of Medicine. He moved to California to accept a position as a Renal Fellow in the Division of Nephrology, Department of Medicine, at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Kurtz then joined the Laboratory of Kidney and Electrolyte Metabolism as a postdoctoral fellow at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. In 1985, Dr. Kurtz joined the Department of Medicine at UCLA and has served as Chief of the Division of Nephrology, and Nephrology Fellowship Training Director. Dr. Kurtz is currently Professor of Medicine, Division of Nephrology, the Factor Chair in Molecular Nephrology, and Director of the Molecular Physiology Transport Laboratory at UCLA.

    The focus of the Kurtz laboratory is on the molecular physiology of acid-base transport processes. The laboratory has contributed significantly to the cloning and molecular understanding of bicarbonate transporters and has made key discoveries in the field of bicarbonate transport biology and ion homeostasis. These transporters have an essential biological role in regulating intracellular pH and transporting bicarbonate in several sensory and non-sensory organs. Normal sensory transduction requires the efficient disposal of acid H+ generated by neuronal and sensory receptor activity. Multiple highly sensitive transport mechanisms have evolved in prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms to maintain acidity within strict limits. Over the past several years it has become increasingly clear that loss of function of specific H+/base transporters results in abnormalities in sensory function. These findings indicate that in certain sensory systems, where the requirement to transduce specific environmental signals with speed, sensitivity and reliability is paramount, the choice of the H+/base transport mechanism utilized is limited. This is best exemplified in the NBC3 knockout mouse generated in the Kurtz lab. The lab cloned and characterized NBC3 as the first electroneutral sodium bicarbonate cotransporter and demonstrated its fundamental role in sensory receptor biology. Mice lacking NBC3 gradually lose their photoreceptors and have auditory impairment demonstrating the fundamental role this transporter plays in these two sensory organs. In addition to NBC3, the electrogenic sodium bicarbonate cotransporter NBC1 has been identified by the Kurtz lab to play a role in ion transport in various cell types in the eye. This is especially relevant given the recent finding that humans with NBC1 mutations develop cataracts and blindness.

    Karen M. Lyons received a Ph.D. degree in medical genetics from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She then completed two postdoctoral fellowships in developmental biology; the first fellowship was at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, the second at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Following her postdoctoral studies, Dr. Lyons spent a year as a staff scientist at the Genetics Institute. Dr. Lyons moved to California and joined UCLA in 1995. She is currently an Associate Professor in the Departments of Orthopaedic Surgery, Biological Chemistry, and Molecular, Cell & Developmental Biology. 

    Dr. Lyons is interested in growth factor signaling in mammalian development and disease. “Many of the inductive events associated with vertebrate development are mediated by diffusible signals. The involvement of members of the transforming growth factor ß family of growth regulatory molecules in aspects of cell cycle control, gene expression, and cell-cell interactions is well established. Members of the Bone Morphogenetic Protein (BMP) subgroup of TGFß-related molecules have been implicated in many key signaling events in vertebrates and invertebrates. We are using the mouse as a model organism to study the roles of these regulatory factors during vertebrate development. 

    We are interested in identifying the cellular targets of action of TGFß-related genes in a developmental context. Our approach is to take advantage of the genetic capabilities the mouse system offers, including transgenic and gene targeting technologies. We are also using organ and cell culture strategies to define the molecular mechanism of action of TGFß-related molecules in a biologically relevant context. These efforts have been facilitated by the recent identification of receptors for specific BMPs. We are currently developing cell culture systems and in vivo models to study BMP-mediated receptor signaling.”

    Eric Vilain received a Ph.D. degree in genetics from the Universite Pierre et Marie Curie/Pasteur Institute in 1994. He received an M.D. degree from the Faculte de Medecine Necker Enfants Malades in 1995. He completed a residency in pediatrics with a focus on pediatric endocrinology and pediatric genetics in the Paris Hospital System. In 1996, Dr. Vilain moved to the United States to join UCLA’s Department of Pediatrics as a postdoctoral fellow in medical genetics. Dr. Vilain is currently an Associate Professor of Human Genetics, Pediatrics, and Urology.

    Dr. Vilain’s research focuses on the genetics of sexual development in mammals. Sex determination orients development toward sexually dimorphic individuals, male or female. Dr. Vilain investigates sexual dimorphisms of the gonads and the brain. He investigates the genes involved in the early choice of the bipotential gonads, as well as the genes responsible for brain sexual differentiation, sexual orientation and gender identity. In mammals, male sex determination is triggered by a primary signal, encoded by the testis determining factor SRY, localized on the Y chromosome. Subsequently, a complex network of genes, most of them still unknown, is regulated and leads to male sexual differentiation. Dr. Vilain’s laboratory has discovered new molecular and cellular mechanisms of sex determination during fetal development. In particular, he has provided strong evidence supporting SRY as the testis determining gene, and identified regulatory mechanisms of transcription of DAX1, another sex determining gene. He has also recently identified human WNT-4, a signaling molecule responsible, when duplicated, for XY sex reversal in mammals. He has shown that normal sexual development is highly dependent on strict gene dosage at all major steps of the sex determination pathway. He has also demonstrated that specific genetic factors influenced brain sexual differentiation independently from gonadal hormones.

    The Brain Research Institute is happy to welcome its newest members.


    The BRI congratulates the meritorious achievements of Dr. Daniel Kaufman, Dr. Edward McCabe, and Dr. Ernest Wright.

    Daniel Kaufman, Professor of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology, was one of only 18 worldwide to receive a grant from the Michael J. Fox Foundation for innovative Parkinson’s disease research. Dr. Kaufman and his team will examine the neuroprotective effects of the drug Copaxone in animal models of Parkinson’s disease. The drug is currently used to treat multiple sclerosis.

    Edward McCabe, Physician-in-Chief of Mattel Children’s Hospital at UCLA and Executive Chair of the Department of Pediatrics, was named president-elect of the American Pediatric Society. Starting in May 2006, Dr. McCabe will serve a one-year term as president.

    An academic pediatrician and geneticist, Dr. McCabe directs the Pediatric Research, Innovation and Mentoring Experience (PRIME) Program, the UCLA Child Health Research Career Development Award, and the Human and Molecular Development Postdoctoral Training Program.

    Among his many leadership roles, Dr. McCabe has served as president of the American Board of Medical Genetics, president of the American College of Medical Genetics, president of the Western Society for Pediatric Research and chair of the Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Genetic Testing. Dr. McCabe is also a member of the prestigious Institute of Medicine.

    Ernest Wright, Professor of Physiology and Melinkoff Professor in Medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, has been named a 2005 Fellow to the Royal Society, an honor considered one of the highest accolades a scientist can achieve next to the Nobel Prize.

    Dr. Wright’s research focuses on the structure, function and genetics of transport proteins, which act as gatekeepers for the body by carrying essential molecules in and out of cells. In 2003, his research team identified a new protein that senses changes in glucose, the blood sugar that fuels body function. The UCLA discovery could lead to the development of new drugs to control diabetes and obesity.

    The Royal Society has been promoting excellence in science since its foundation in 1660. Previous fellows have included Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Ernest Rutherford, Albert Einstein, Dorothy Hodgkin, Francis Crick, James Watson and Stephen Hawking.

    Warm congratulations to Drs. Kaufman, McCabe, and Wright from the staff, students and faculty of the Brain Research Institute!


    The Joint Seminars in Neuroscience series will resume Fall quarter beginning October 4, 2005. A number of outstanding speakers are lined up so mark your calendars and plan to join us every Tuesday at 4:00 p.m. in the Louis Jolyon West Auditorium, C8-183 NPI, unless otherwise indicated.

    Fall 2005 Preview

    October 4, 2005
    Elizabeth Phelps, Department of Psychology, New York University 
    (Host: Tad Blair)

    October 11, 2005
    Karel Svoboda, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Center for Learning & Memory, Cold Spring Harbor, New York
    (Host: Dario Ringach)

    October 18, 2005
    Anne Hart, Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, Harvard University, Charleston, Massachusetts
    (Host: David Krantz)

    October 25, 2005
    Julie Kauer, Department of Molecular Pharmacology, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island
    (Host: Felix Schweizer)

    November 1, 2005
    Rolf Karlstrom, Department of Biology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
    (Host: Ellen Carpenter) 

    November 8, 2005
    Richard Mooney, Department of Neurobiology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina
    (Host: Stephanie White)

    November 15, 2005
    N0 Joint Seminars in Neuroscience Lecture
    Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting, Washington, DC

    November 22, 2005
    To Be Determined

    November 29, 2005
    UCLA Neuroscience Poster Session Distinguished Lecturer (Ackerman Union Grand Ballroom)
    To Be Determined

    December 6, 2005
    Yishi Jin, Department of Biology, University of California, Santa Cruz
    (Host: Kelsey Martin)

    The Joint Seminars in Neuroscience are sponsored by The Brain Research Institute and the Neuropsychiatric Institute; co-sponsored by the Interdepartmental Programs for Neuroscience, the Mental Retardation Research Center, and the Departments of Anesthesiology, Neurobiology, Neurology, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, Psychology, Physiology, Physiological Science, Ophthalmology, and Surgery/Neurosurgery.


    Training Program in Neural Repair at UCLA

    Two predoctoral and two postdoctoral positions are available on an NIH-funded training grant for research relevant to Neural Repair at UCLA. Applicants MUST be U.S. Citizen or a Permanent Resident of the U.S. at the time of the application. Starting date for predoctoral fellows is July 1, 2005 and for postdoctoral fellows, between July 1, 2005 and June 1, 2006. Only applicants who have obtained a M.D. or Ph.D. degree less than 12 months before the starting date are eligible for the postdoctoral positions. Appointments are for one year and may be renewed for a second year on a competitive basis that requires a full application. To apply, send a letter of nomination from the faculty mentor, a brief (1-2 pages) research program, your graduate GPA, and for graduate students your GREs, an NIH biosketch with list of publications, and two letters of recommendation to:

    M.-F. Chesselet, M.D., Ph.D., Program Director
    Departments of Neurology and Neurobiology
    David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
    B114 RNRC, 710 Westwood Plaza
    Los Angeles, CA 90095
    For inquiries, please contact Dr. Chesselet at

    Postdoctoral Position Studying Ion Channels 

    A postdoctoral position is available studying the properties and functions of intrinsic and ligand-gated ion channels controlling interneurons within brainstem oral-motor networks involved in rhythmical burst pattern generation. Experiments involve current and voltage clamp methods in brain slices from rats and mice in combination with molecular techniques (RT-PCR, transgenic mice, etc.) to assess the properties, function, and identities of various ion channels in sculpting bursting behavior. Experience with slice electrophysiology is required. Start date is flexible. Interested candidates should send curriculum vitae via email to: 

    Scott H. Chandler, Ph.D.
    Dept. of Physiological Science, 2859 Slichter Hall UCLA
    Los Angeles, CA 90095

    The Whitehall Foundation --Grants for Research in Neurobiology

    The Whitehall Foundation is accepting applications throughout the year for grants to support basic research in neurobiology, especially on how the brain's sensory, motor, and other complex functions relate to behavior. 

    Candidates eligible for these grants include tenured or tenure-track professors at accredited American institutions. 

    Deadlines for letters of intent to apply are due by January 15, April 15, and October 1; the three deadlines for applications during the year are June 1, September 1, and February 15. 

    The total amount to be awarded and number of awards is not specified, however, the amount of individual awards range from $30,000 to $75,000 each year for up to three years. 

    View the full text of the announcement on the Foundation's web site:


    Carol Moss Spivak Cell Imaging Facility
    Confocal Microscopy
    For information, contact: 
    Dr. Matt Schibler X59783

    Electron Microscopy and Specimen Preparation
    For information, contact:
    Marianne Cilluffo, x59848 (310-825-9848)

    Microscopic Techniques and Histological Preparation
    For information, contact:
    Marianne Cilluffo, x59848 (310-825-9848)

    Other Cores:
    Pasarow Mass Spectrometry Laboratory
    For information, contact:
    Dr. Kym Faull X67881


    Postmortem Human Frozen Brain Tissue and Matched Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF) and Blood are Available for Scientists to Search for Etiopathogeneses of Human Disease.

    The National Neurological Research Specimen Bank and the Multiple Sclerosis Human Neurospecimen Bank, located at VA West Los Angeles Healthcare Center, maintains a collection of quick frozen and formalin fixed postmortem human brain tissue and frozen cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from patients with neurological diseases (including Alzheimer's Disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, depressive disorder/suicide, epilepsy, Huntington's disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's Disease, progressive supranuclear palsy, schizophrenia, stroke/CVA and other less common diseases). Full inventory is available upon request. Diagnoses are documented by clinical medical records and gross/microscopic neuropathology.
    Special features of the Bank are as follows:

    1). Serial digital images of coronal sections (7 mm thick and obtained before quick freezing) are available for selecting samples to be studied.
    2). Microscopic neuropathology is available on each dissected sample and the dissected sample's localization is sketched on the gross coronal section image from which it came.
    3). Plaques of demyelination are classified as active, chronic active or inactive, and a shipment includes adjacent normal appearing white and nearby gray matter from the same case (they serve as a type of control).
    4). Ice artifact is minimized and it does not interfere with in situ hybridization or in situ PCR or immunocytochemistry.
    5). Tissue samples have been used for harvesting enough mRNA for microarray assay plates.
    6). CSF cells and cell-free CSF are available pre- and postmortem as is serum, plasma and buffy coats. They are stored quick frozen (full inventory is available upon request).

    The Bank is supported by NIH (NINCDS/NIMH), the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and Veterans Affairs West Los Angeles Healthcare Center.
    For further information on tissues/CSF available and how to access them, contact:

    Wallace W. Tourtellotte, M.D., Ph.D.
    Neurology Research (127A)
    VA West Los Angeles Healthcare Center
    11301 Wilshire Blvd
    Los Angeles, CA 90073
    (310) 268_4638; fax: (310) 268_4638
    web site:

    Alzheimer's Disease Brain Tissue and CSF

    The Neuropathology Laboratory at UCLA Medical Center maintains a bank of frozen, formalin and paraformaldehyde-fixed and paraffin-embedded postmortem human brain tissues and frozen cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from patients who die with Alzheimer's disease and other dementing and degenerative illnesses (including progressive supranuclear palsy, Parkinson's disease, fronto-temporal dementia), as well as control materials removed in a similar fashion from patients who are neurologically normal. Tissues are maintained as part of the NIA-funded Neuropathology Core functions of the UCLA Alzheimer's Disease Center. These tissues/fluids are available as a resource to investigators in any discipline. Pilot studies using the tissues/CSF to examine biomolecules that are of known importance in animal models and suspected significance in human neurodegenerative conditions are particularly encouraged. Every attempt will be made to provide research materials for worthwhile projects in a timely fashion. For further information on tissues/CSF available and how to access them, contact:

    Dr. Harry Vinters
    Section of Neuropathology
    UCLA Medical Center, CHS 18-170
    Los Angeles, CA 90095-1732
    Phone: 310-825-6191; Fax: 310-206-8290


    UCLA Faculty Position in Culture & Health

    The Center for Culture and Health (CCH) in UCLA's Neuropsychiatric Institute (NPI) seeks a specialist in the study of culture, society and mental or physical health. Of particular interest is a focus on race/ethnicity and sociocultural processes, as well as psychiatric disorders and concerns. Innovative translational and/or integrative research programs are welcomed. The CCH includes five senior anthropologists and psychologists; senior research staff; affiliated faculty in anthropology and psychology; field research and statistical support facilities; and grants administration assistance. Please visit the CCH website for more

    This is a full-time faculty position at the rank of associate or full professor; level of appointment will be commensurate with background and experience. Candidates must possess an established research record and demonstrated ability to secure extramural funding. The position includes doctoral and postdoctoral teaching and training responsibilities; excellent teaching skills and the ability to mentor junior faculty are required. Applicants from anthropology, psychiatry, psychology, public health, sociology, and related disciplines are encouraged to apply. The appointment is based in the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, with possible joint appointment in a second department. The NPI is an interdisciplinary research and education institute devoted to the understanding of complex human behavior in conjunction with the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences of the David Geffen School of Medicine. Application deadline is November 15, 2005. To apply: send cover letter, curriculum vitae and names and addresses of three referees (please do not request letters) to:

    Cynthia Brooks, Search Coordinator 
    Culture & Health Search Committee
    UCLA is an EOE.

    Occidental College Adjunct Positions
    Biology Department

    The Biology Department of Occidental College has several part time positions available for the 2005-2006 academic year. The courses to be taught are: General Zoology (Bio. 115--lecture and two lab sections) in the Fall of 2005; Introduction to Cell and Molecular Biology (Bio. 130--lecture and two lab sections) in the Spring of 2006; and a lecture course for non-majors (Bio. 104---topic open) in the Spring of 2006. The Bio. 104 course can be on a variety of topics, to be decided in consultation with the department chair. Course descriptions are listed below. 

    Occidental is a nationally ranked small liberal arts college with excellent research and teaching facilities, located in Los Angeles, near Caltech and other research institutions. Occidental is nationally recognized for its broadly diverse student body, and for its outstanding undergraduate research program. For more information on Occidental College, please visit their web site at

    Applicants should submit a curriculum vitae, statement of teaching interests and experience, and two letters of reference to: Dr. Roberta Pollock, Department of Biology, Occidental College, 1600 Campus Road, Los Angeles, CA 90041. Review will begin immediately upon receipt of complete applications, and continue until a hire is made. 
    Occidental College is an equal opportunity employer. The College is committed to academic excellence in a diverse community and supporting interdisciplinary and multicultural academic programs that provide a gifted and diverse group of students with an educational experience that prepares them for leadership in a pluralistic world. Women and minorities are strongly encouraged to apply.

    Course Descriptions

    Bio. 115: General Zoology--An introduction to the diversity, comparative anatomy and physiology of animals. Emphasis is placed on the classification of animals and the evolutionary relationships between the phyla. This class is designed for science majors and students planning to enter the health professions. Includes one three-hour laboratory per week.
    Bio. 130: Introduction to Cell and Molecular Biochemistry--A concept-driven survey course designed to provide broad introduction to the biochemistry, physiology, and molecular biology of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. Topics include structure/function relationships of biological macromolecules; the roles of such molecules in cellular metabolism and membrane biology; molecular biology of DNA, RNA, and protein synthesis; the cell cycle; elementary genetics; and cellular communication. Includes one three-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisite: Chemistry 110 or permission of instructor.
    Bio. 104: Taught on a variety of topics. The course offered this past year is listed below, but the topic is subject to change.
    Bio. 104. Biology Of Cancer--An introduction to the detection, progression, treatment and epidemiology of human cancer. The student will also gain an understanding of normal human biology from molecular, immunologic and physiologic basis of cancer. Not applicable to the Biology major. Prerequisite: A high school biology course; no college-level prerequisites.

    AMGEN-Associate Scientist-Neuroscience

    A commitment to serving patients lies at the heart of Amgen’s success. As the world’s largest biotechnology company, we discover, develop, manufacture and market therapies upon which thousands of people rely. And thousands of highly committed individuals from across the professional spectrum are involved in the complex, multifaceted process that takes an idea out of the laboratory and lets us bring it, in the form of a needed therapy, to patients. Bring your sense of commitment to Amgen and be part of this extraordinary process. The following opportunity is currently available at the Thousand Oaks, California, facility.

    Associate Scientist – Neuroscience

    Requirements: Bachelor's Degree in Life Sciences with 8 years relevant and increasingly complex laboratory experience is required. Ideal candidates will have a Master's degree. Experience with mouse handling and tissue collection is essential. Basic neuroanatomy, immunofluorescence microscopy and/or protein chemistry (e.g. Western blot, tissue homogenates, ELISA) experience is desired. Must be comfortable speaking to a group and have excellent documentation skills.

    Job Summary: This immediate opening is in the Department of Neuroscience where the associate will participate in discovery and development of novel therapies for neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease and neuroinflammation. Our team seeks a scientist experienced in animal pharmacology including transgenic colony breeding/maintenance, i.p. and i.v. dose administration, tissue and plasma collection, cryosectioning, histological staining, and cell culture. Routine responsibilities will also include managing centralized tissue and reagent banks, planning and executing experiments, organizing and analyzing data, and delivering results to the project team. The successful candidate will posses strong analytical and meticulous organizational skills. Individual must be team-oriented with superior communication skills, as he/she will function as a critical liaison between pharmacologists and in vitro assay scientists.

    Amgen’s outstanding compensation package features comprehensive benefits and relocation assistance. Come be a part of the big picture at Amgen. Interested candidates email resume to

    As an EEO/AA employer, Amgen values a diverse combination of perspectives and cultures. M/F/D/V


    The BRI regularly receives letters and resumes from people looking for work in the field of neuroscience. Below is an abbreviated list of the candidates and the type of work they seek. Copies of their resumes are often available in our editorial office. If you are interested in one or more of these individuals, please contact them directly, or call x56055.

    Joseph Dunsmoor graduated in May 2004, with a B.S. degree in psychology and a minor in biology from James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA. He conducted research in the area of visual perception and oculomotor resting states for three semesters and presented the findings at two psychology symposiums. Course work relevant to the research at UCLA includes work in biology (physiology, cellular bio, microbio, genetics, zoology) and also biopsychology, psychopharmacology, cognitive, sensation and perception. Joseph is interested in working in an area of research that enhances understanding of the brain and how it relates to behavior. For several years he has been interested in the affects of drugs on the brain. He has studied synaptic transmission and how drugs affect particular neurotransmitters, as well as other areas of biopsychology related to neuroscience. He has been studying independently while in school and also since graduating, reading research journals and books on neuroscience. He has studied schizophrenia and antipsychotic drugs, which are also areas of interest. After graduation Joseph had planned to accept a fellowship in the neuropsychology department of NIMH as part of the intramural research program, but relocated to the west coast. Joseph has been working as a research assistant in the psychopharmacology unit of t he UCLA Center for Research on the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Psychosis since August, under Drs. Donna and William Wirshing. Joseph would like to obtain a position in a neuroscience research laboratory in order to gain research training and experience prior to applying to graduate school. Joseph Dunsmoor can be reached


    Neuroscience News serves as the primary vehicle for disseminating information to the UCLA neuroscience community. It is published solely on the Brain Research Institute’s web site and distributed to the BRI Calendar E-mail list. Please submit all information to the BRI editorial office, E-mail, or call extension 56055 or 55061.

    Editor: Linda Maninger