Open postdoctoral position, faculty mentor Susanne Brummelte


Whole brain activity mapping of the maternal (rat) brain (on opioids). Opioid use disorder (OUD) is a global epidemic affecting a high proportion of child-bearing women. The drastic 4-fold increase in OUD among pregnant women from 1999-2014 has promoted opioid maintenance therapies (OMT) such as buprenorphine (BUP) to mitigate effects associated with opioid abuse. Endogenous opioids play a significant role in orchestrating neuronal adaptations within the maternal brain network (MBN) for the successful 'switch' from a nulliparous brain to a maternal brain to incentivize nurturing maternal behaviors from the dam. The proposed studies aim to use a translational rodent model to evaluate the effects of BUP compared to morphine on the maternal brain and behavior. Effects of gestational BUP and morphine exposure on neurochemical and activation pattern changes in the maternal brain will be evaluated using state of the art imaging techniques. Our proposal will be able to add to the preliminary human findings on altered functional connectivity in buprenorphine-exposed mothers by using 'whole (half) brain activity mapping' which will allow us to simultaneously illuminate activity at cellular resolution in several brain areas of the MBN and compare patterns between opioid-exposed and control dams and investigate associations with changes in maternal behaviors. We expect that perinatal exposure to BUP inhibits the neuronal 'switch' from aversive to rewarding perception of pups that is necessary to initiate appropriate maternal behavior thus subsequently influencing offspring survival. We hope to advance science on the consequences of opioid drug use/therapy during gestation and to apply these outcomes toward clinical knowledge to improve public health via effective translation, implementation, and dissemination of our scientific research findings

Required qualifications

  • Ph.D. degree in biomedical sciences or related fields
  • Training or experience or willingness to learn iDISCO, Python, and whole brain activity mapping to join the team
  • Experience with computational neuroscience, immunohistochemistry, and mentoring students preferred but not mandatory

Required application materials

Send CV incl. list of publications and at least 3 names of references to