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SURF: Announcements of Opportunity

Below are Announcements of Opportunity posted by Caltech faculty and JPL technical staff for the SURF program. Additional AOs for the Amgen Scholars program can be found here.

Specific GROWTH projects being offerred for summer 2018 can be found here.

Each AO indicates whether or not it is open to non-Caltech students. If an AO is NOT open to non-Caltech students, please DO NOT contact the mentor.

Announcements of Opportunity are posted as they are received. Please check back regularly for new AO submissions! Remember: This is just one way that you can go about identifying a suitable project and/or mentor.

Announcements for external summer programs are listed here.

Students pursuing opportunities at JPL must be
U.S. citizens or U.S. permanent residents.

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Project:  a synthetic genetic system to investigate neuronal connections in brain circuits
Disciplines:  Biology, Synthetic Biology, Molecular Biology, Neuroscience
Mentor:  Carlos Lois, research professor, (BBE),, Phone: 6263951579
Mentor URL:  (opens in new window)
Background:  Understanding the computations that take place in brain circuits requires identifying how neurons in those circuits are connected. We have designed a new genetic strategy to identify the wiring diagram of brain circuits based on transneuronal activation of transcription. This system will allow us not only to identify the connections between neurons, but also to genetically modify the physiological properties of circuits of connected neurons. We anticipate that this research will provide fundamental insights to understand how neuronal activity in brain circuits gives rise to behavior.
Description:  the student will participate in experiments aimed at investigating the wiring diagram of brain circuits , and will learn the following techniques:
- generation of transgenic animals (molecular cloning, biochemical analysis, genetic crosses).
- microscopy analysis of neuronal connections
- imaging of neuronal activity in brain circuits
Student Requirements:  molecular biology
Programs:  This AO can be done under the following programs:

  Program    Available To
       Amgen Scholars    Non-Caltech students only  
       SURF    Caltech students only 

Click on a program name for program info and application requirements.

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