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Klaus Wanisch

Klaus Wanisch is an Outreach Scientist at Addgene. These days he's doing a lot of science communication, and is particularly excited to hear about novel developments in the fields of gene and cellular therapies.

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Using AAV for neuronal tracing

Posted by Klaus Wanisch on Aug 9, 2018 9:04:52 AM

Background on neuronal tracing

A key aspect to understanding the brain’s function is knowing its architecture, in particular the connections between different brain regions. For example, communication between the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex brain regions is involved in the formation of episodic memory, a special type of memory which includes autobiographical events (see Jin & Maren, 2015). Directional flow of information between different parts of the brain is mediated via individual neurons. Neurons are composed of a cell body, with dendrites receiving incoming information, and a projecting axon sending information onwards to other neuronal cells. Synapses at the terminals of axons form connections to dendrites of proximal neuronal cells. In the specific example of episodic memory, a subset of hippocampal neurons projects axons directly to the prefrontal cortex, but also indirectly via synapses to neurons in other brain regions. Further, the connections between regions are often reciprocal, forming a neuronal loop which is activated and strengthened during memory formation and memory retrieval.

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Topics: Viral Vectors

Career Insights: Technical Support Specialist

Posted by Klaus Wanisch on Nov 9, 2017 9:00:00 AM

A degree in the life sciences prepares one for numerous non-academic careers. Still, many start their scientific careers hoping to follow the traditional academic route (find tips for getting a faculty position here). Possible roadblocks only become obvious at rather late stages (i.e. postdoc level) and can include the pressure to publish in high-impact journals, and the requirement for a high grant success rate. At this point, candidates are highly experienced but often have to start pursuing other options.

While some non-academic career options require additional study for late career scientists to become more appealing on the job market (e.g. a postgraduate degree in law, an MBA, or similar), there are many roles out there that require exactly what life science PhDs can offer: vast practical lab expertise, experience in different scientific fields, and knowledge of how to troubleshoot problems at the bench. Specifically, roles in technical support make excellent use of the skills developed by life science PhDs.

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Topics: Career, Career Readiness

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