Neurosciences Postdoctoral Scholar Awards

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Postdoc scholars researching in a lab

Our postdoctoral scholars program provides research support and a community of mentors and peers to extraordinary Stanford postdocs advancing our understanding of the mind and brain in health and disease.

The Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute's Postdoctoral Scholar Awards support innovative, collaborative and creative postdoctoral researchers from across Stanford who are pursuing novel, multi-disciplinary approaches to understanding the workings of the mind and brain. In addition to receiving research funding, scholars meet regularly for workshops, journal clubs and other activities that allow them to learn from one another’s varied research and personal backgrounds and establish community and collaborations. These Interdisciplinary Postdocs and Brain Resilience Scholars will advance our knowledge of brain health and aging.
 

Program Tracks

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Wu Tsai Neuro brain logo

Interdisciplinary Postdoctoral Scholar Award

Since 2015, the Wu Tsai Neuro's Interdisciplinary Scholars track has supported innovative young researchers with backgrounds in basic and clinical neurosciences, biomedical sciences, physical sciences, social sciences, engineering, education, law, business and humanities who are engaged in cutting edge interdisciplinary research in the neurosciences, broadly defined.

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Knight Initiative for Brain Resilience Brain logo

Brain Resilience Postdoctoral Scholar Award

Since 2023, the Brain Resilience Postdoctoral Scholars award of the Knight Initiative for Brain Resilience supports trainees generating paradigm-shifting insights on the mechanisms of neurodegeneration and how to maintain brain resilience into old age.

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Application

This program is open to current Stanford postdocs. Our next postdoc applications will open in Winter Quarter 2024.

Program sponsor
Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute & Knight Initiative for Brain Resilience

Funded Interdisciplinary Postdoctoral Scholar projects

Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute
Interdisciplinary Scholar Award
2024
Multifunctional vascular-like electronics for integration and monitoring of human neural organoids

This study will introduce a vascular-like electronic system that merges seamlessly with neural organoids,
establishing an integrated vascular-electronic-neural network. This envisaged platform holds the promise of heralding a transformative phase in the evolution of human neural organoid research and elucidating the
fundamental understanding on the roles of oxygen and nutrient perfusion during neural development.

Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute
Interdisciplinary Scholar Award
2023
Microglia-Mediated Astrocyte Activation in Chronic Pain

While acute pain is an important biological signal in response to injured tissue, chronic pain occurs when the pain signaling outlasts the initial injury and has deleterious effects on health and quality of life. Chronic pain represents an enormous public health burden with few therapeutic options.

Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute
Interdisciplinary Scholar Award
2015
Simultaneous 15O-PET and MRI of cerebral blood flow and cerebrovascular reserve

Continuous blood flow to the brain is needed for neural tissues to survive. Noninvasive imaging of cerebral blood flow (CBF) in humans is challenging, but is critically useful to understand normal brain physiology and to help patients with cerebrovascular disorders such as stroke.

Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute
Interdisciplinary Scholar Award
2020
Engineering nanoscale optical transducers of mechanical signals in the nervous system

Communication between cells in the nervous system regulates the senses, memory, and information processing. Using electrical and biochemical sensors, such as patch clamps, voltage-sensitive dyes, and calcium-sensitive dyes, scientists have mapped with extraordinary detail the interactions of the nervous system.

Funded Brain Resilience Postdoctoral Scholar projects

Knight Initiative for Brain Resilience
Brain Resilience Scholar Award
2024
High-resolution profiling of Alzheimer’s brain resilience

Resilience to Alzheimer’s disease (RAD) describes those rare individuals who exhibit normal cognitive function
while harboring a high disease burden. Better understanding of the mechanisms that confer protection against
cognitive decline despite high-level AD pathology offers potential therapeutic insights for preventing dementia in AD. Recent advances in the field provide a unique opportunity to explore the spatial distribution of molecules in the human brain at an unprecedented level of detail.

Knight Initiative for Brain Resilience
Brain Resilience Scholar Award
2023
Elucidating the role of alternative polyadenylation in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD)

With an aging population, neurodegenerative disorders contribute increasingly to our global health burden with no cure or effective treatments. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD) are two neurodegenerative disorders that are distinct in clinical presentation (ALS impairs movement/breathing, whereas FTD impairs behavior/cognition).

Knight Initiative for Brain Resilience
Brain Resilience Scholar Award
2023
Rejuvenating sleep to enhance brain resilience with age

Sleep is a critical behavioral state that fulfills essential needs for health, including clearing waste products (e.g., protein aggregates) from the brain. But sleep is not everlasting. As humans age, sleep quality strikingly deteriorates, and this decline is associated with dementias (e.g., Alzheimer’s disease).

Knight Initiative for Brain Resilience
Brain Resilience Scholar Award
2023
Determining the role of circadian transcriptional control in myelin-forming precursors in neurodegeneration

The causes of neurodegenerative disorders like multiple sclerosis or Alzheimer’s disease are incompletely understood, hindering our ability to gain precise diagnoses and design effective therapeutics. Understanding how the circadian rhythms regulate myelin-forming precursors will impart unique insights into normal and aberrant myelination and will have a positive impact on developing therapeutic strategies to restructure myelin.

Our Model

This program awards two years of fellowship funding and is pleased to provide parental leave. Postdoctoral scholars also receive $5,000 of discretionary research funds annually.

Mentorship

The program provides scientific and career-growth opportunities and guidance under the leadership of program co-directors and faculty mentors Professors Miriam Goodman and Liqun Luo. Scholars meet monthly with their cohort and program faculty mentors to share ideas and discuss approaches to scientific and career challenges, visit each other’s labs to learn about different research techniques and areas of study, and practice communicating their research to scientific and general audiences.


In addition, Brain Resilience Postdoctoral Scholars attend events and seminars hosted by the Knight Initiative for Brain Resilience, and are stewarded by Knight Initiative Associate Director Natasha Hussain and faculty mentor Elizabeth Mormino to learn from one another and build community around the topic of neurodegeneration and brain resilience.

Diversity

The Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute Postdoctoral program brings together cohorts of postdocs representing the broad range of demographic, experiential and scientific diversity. Women and postdocs from groups underrepresented in the neurosciences are strongly encouraged to apply.

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Application and Eligibility Details

Carefully review the detailed information below if you are interested in applying to the Interdisciplinary Postdoctoral Scholars track or the Brain Resilience Postdoctoral Scholars track of the program.

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Terms and Conditions

Learn more about the terms and conditions of this program. 

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