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Neuroprotection Strategies For Soman Exposure: Wild Type and Genetically Altered Mouse Models

The U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense (USAMRICD) is the Department of Defense's lead laboratory for medical chemical defense research. As a subordinate element of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command (USAMRMC), the institute conducts research for development of medical countermeasures to treat exposure to various chemical threat agents for protection of soldiers and civilians. Scientific disciplines at USAMRICD include, but are not limited to, chemistry, biology, biochemistry, pharmacology, molecular biology, neuroscience, toxicology, physiology, psychology, and immunology. Visit us on Facebook at

Nerve agents are potent acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitors that can induce prolonged seizure causing severe neurodegeneration and behavioral impairment. While treatments do exist to ameliorate the more lethal effects of exposure, they do not address the associated brain damage and inflammation. A critical gap in neuroprotection research has been defining what ‘efficacious’ means for a neuroprotective strategy. The main focus of this research group is to define consistent experimental metrics and clinically appropriate neuroprotection endpoints and advance development of neuroprotectants treatments.

Under the guidance of the mentor, the ORISE candidate will participate in a Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) funded research project with a multidisciplinary research team to investigate nerve agent-induced seizures and neuroprotection strategies using wild type and knockout mouse models. In addition, the candidate may also assist the mentor in conducting research for a National Institute of Health (NIH) funded project to investigate in vivo cellular changes in the brains of transgenic mice following nerve agent exposure using two photon microscopy. These research projects will strengthen the participant's skills and knowledge in the following areas: small animal surgery, behavioral evaluations, evaluation of electroencephalographic (EEG) records, genotyping, immunohistochemistry, stereology, histology, tissue dissection, confocal microscopy and analysis of histopathological/ protein/ mRNA data. No prior experience is necessary to apply though the candidate should be familiar with general lab practices. The candidate will learn or expand upon new analytical and animal handling techniques, and may acquire knowledge in operating, optimizing and mastering in vivo 2 photon microscopy. This experience will significantly enhance future career opportunities in preparation for graduate school, industry or government. This opportunity is located in Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland.

Appointment Length
This appointment is a twelve month research appointment, with the possibility to be renewed for additional research periods. Appointments may be extended depending on funding availability, project assignment, program rules, and availability of the participant.

Participant Benefits
Participants will receive a stipend to be determined by MRICD. Other benefits may include the following:
  • Health Insurance Supplement. Participants are eligible to purchase health insurance through ORISE
  • Training and Travel Allowance

Nature of Appointment
The participant will not enter into an employee/employer relationship with ORISE, ORAU, DOD, or any other office or agency. Instead, the participant will be affiliated with ORISE for the administration of the appointment through the ORISE appointment letter and Terms of Appointment.

While participants will not enter into an employment relationship with DOD or any other agency, this opportunity will require a suitability investigation/background investigation. Any offer made is considered tentative pending favorable outcome of the investigation.

Desired Appointment Start Date: 5/20/2019

  • A Bachelor of Arts or Science degree in any biological discipline (psychology, neuroscience, physiololgy, etc.)
  • GPA greater than or equal to 3.0
  • Must be a US citizen
  • Must be able to obtain and maintain a secret security clearance