Postdoctoral positions studying sleep using zebrafish (Prober Lab)

Research focus

Postdoctoral positions are available to study genetic and neuronal mechanisms that regulate sleep in the lab of David Prober at the California Institute of Technology.

Humans devote a third of their lives to sleep, sleep disorders are pervasive in modern societies, and sleep-like states are conserved throughout evolution, yet the regulation and function of sleep remain among the most enduring mysteries in biology. The Prober lab is taking a new approach to this problem by using zebrafish, a vertebrate whose brain is anatomically and molecularly similar to that of mammals. Zebrafish offer several advantages for sleep research, including optical transparency that allows for whole-brain calcium imaging and non-invasive optogenetic manipulations, small size that facilitates large-scale behavioral assays, and a diurnal pattern of sleep/wake states. Through the use of high-throughput screens and candidate-based approaches, the Prober lab has shown that zebrafish share genetic and neuronal mechanisms of sleep regulation with mammals, and has also identified novel mechanisms that regulate sleep. Positions are available to study genetic and neuronal circuits that regulate sleep, perform whole-brain analysis of neuronal activity during sleep and wake states, and explore interactions between circadian and homeostatic sleep control. These projects offer opportunities to develop skills in developmental and behavioral neuroscience, genetics, molecular biology and imaging approaches.

The following papers illustrate our approach to sleep research.

Chen S, Reichert S, Singh C, Oikonomou G, Rihel J, Prober DA. Light-Dependent Regulation of Sleep and Wake States by Prokineticin 2 in Zebrafish. Neuron. 2017. 95:153-168.

Chiu CN, Rihel J, Lee DA, Singh C, Mosser EA, Chen S, Sapin V, Pham U, Engle J, Niles BJ, Montz CJ, Chakravarthy S, Zimmerman S, Salehi-Ashtiani K, Vidal M, Schier AF, Prober DA. A Zebrafish Genetic Screen Identifies Neuromedin U as a Regulator of Sleep/Wake States. Neuron. 2016. 89:842-56.

Gandhi AV, Mosser EA, Oikonomou G, Prober DA. Melatonin is required for the circadian regulation of sleep. Neuron. 2015. 85:1193-9.

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Applications are encouraged from talented and motivated individuals who have a Ph.D. or are nearing completion of their Ph.D. with experience in genetics, neuroscience, molecular biology, cell biology or related fields. Ideal candidates will have a strong track record of research productivity, excellent communication skills, enthusiasm for basic research and a collegial approach to science. Candidates should send a cover letter, a detailed curriculum vitae, and names and contact details for three references to

The California Institute of Technology

Caltech is consistently ranked among the top research universities in the world and hosts a diverse and collaborative neuroscience community, including several labs that study sleep using a variety of model systems. Caltech is located in Pasadena, California, a vibrant city 10 miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles and minutes from hiking trails in the San Gabriel mountains.