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Student research opportunities

Please find below some information and contacts on various research opportunities for undergraduates or 1st year graduate students interested in rotating

Virtual internship program in zebrafish functional connectomics:

What is the structure function relationship of brain networks?

 

Over the past year we have collected electron microscopy images of a zebrafish larva whose brain activity had been previously recorded. This exceptional dataset will enable us to understand how the brain makes decision related to its sensory environment and how this process is synaptically encoded. You will be using an online platform to reconstruct the morphology of zebrafish neurons from high resolution electron microscopy images.

You will be part of a larger student group and a mentor will help you gain expertise in reading electron microscopy images .

Contact: Jonathan Boulanger-Weill
boulangerweill@fas.harvard.edu

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If you are interested in questions about nature vs nurture and how neural activity might shape neural circuits in a developing brain, then get in touch with Daniel Barabasi.

 

Contact: Dániel Barabási

danielbarabasi@gmail.com

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If you are interested in examining how exposure to pollutants influences neurodevelopment and whether these exposures interact with genetic variants associated with psychiatric disease, please get in touch with Daniel Barabasi. The plan is for you to be a key player of our cool team that comprises Daniel Barabasi, Marie-Abele Bind (biostatistician at MGH/HMS), and Florian Engert. You will use sensitive behavioral testing tools we have developed and tested for larval zebrafish and statistical models that permit us to quantify the effect of pollutants alone and in combination with potential genetic sensitizers. By combining these 21st century toxicology testing, behavioral assays, and statistical tools, the collaborative effort should lay the groundwork to quantify the magnitude and uncertainty of the neural effects of early life environmental exposures according to genetic profiles, and might therefore suggest environmental policy changes that protect susceptible subpopulations.

Contact: Marie-Abèle Bind  or Daniel Barabasi

ma.bind@gmail.comdanielbarabasi@gmail.com

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This research project involves assisting with functional imaging and behavioral experiments in the context of basic social interactions between larval zebrafish.

Contact: Roy Harpaz

harpazone@gmail.com

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How does the heart modulate brain function? and how does the brain modulate heart function?

Cardiac function is often correlated with psychological state. For example, during stressful events our heart rate tends to increase, while during relaxation periods our heart rate decreases. I study the neural mechanisms that mediate cardiac modulation of brain function and brain modulation of cardiac function. I have openings for Harvard undergraduate research assistants this Fall 2022, and Spring 2023. This project is ideal for Harvard rising sophomores or juniors concentrating in any biomedical field, neuroscience, physics, or biomedical engineering. If you think this project might interest you, send me an email to chat.

 

Contact: Luis Hernandez-Nunez

email: luishernandeznunez@fas.harvard.edu

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How can circuits between connected nerve cells create reliable and robust short-term memory?

In this project, you can help us reconstruct the anatomy of an identified memory circuit in the brain of the larval zebrafish. 

Your results will be an important part of a large collaborative effort that addressed this fundamental question from different experimental directions.

 

Contact: Gregor Shuhknecht

gshuhknect@googlemail.com

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Temporary on hold:

This research project is a collaboration between the Engert and Lichtman labs at Harvard, with a goal to produce the world’s first map of an intact vertebrate animal’s nervous system - a three-dimensional version of Google Maps, but for the brain of a larval zebrafish.

(also in "useful links")

Undergraduate positions are available for J-Term, Spring 2022, and Summer 2022.

Contact: Mariela Petkova

mpetkova@fas.harvard.edu

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