The department of Food Science and Human Nutrition (FSHN) at Iowa State University, through Dr. Auriel A. Willette, is accepting applications for a two-year post-doctoral research associate position in Alzheimer’s disease clinical research. The position is in Ames, IA.
The selected candidate will spearhead an NIH-funded grant examining the impact of intermittent calorie restriction versus weight loss dietary counseling on brain, biomarker, and behavioral outcomes. Prospective participants will be aged 70-90 and have Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), generally considered the precursor state to Alzheimer’s disease (AD).
As a trainee, the successful applicant will be expected to independently conduct all aspects of the randomized clinical trial. Duties will include: 1) coordinating all undergraduates, graduate students, and senior colleagues at ISU and the University of Iowa for running participants; 2) facilitating participant recruitment; 3) helping to collect or oversee data collection during participant visits; and 4) overseeing administrative duties related to the grant.
The trainee has the option of also helping to conduct data analysis involving MR and PET brain imaging, biofluid markers related to nutrition and metabolism, and/or cognition in AD and related dementias.
The successful candidate will have access to state-of-the-science equipment, facilities, and personnel trained specifically for the clinical trial. A second year of funding is contingent on satisfactory first year performance.
Most trial visits will be conducted at the Nutrition and Wellness Research Center (NWRC), located in ISU’s research park district. The NWRC is an interdisciplinary research facility dedicated to studies on health and health-related behaviors. The NWRC includes research and laboratory space, equipment for controlled studies related to diet, exercise and behavior change. Body composition measurements may be assessed via BODPOD, PeaPod, and bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) and bone mineral densitometry via dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA). Anthropometry assessment and phlebotomy rooms are available for collecting blood and other clinical data.
Neuroimaging visits will be conducted at the Magnetic Resonance Research Facility, through the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, located in Iowa City, IA. The MRRF was established in August of 2004 and has a 3T GE Discovery 750W MRI scanner and 7T GE 950 whole body scanner that are 100% research dedicated. State-of-the-science computing facilities include Windows and Unix-based image processing tools (LCModel, Matlab, SPM, AFNI, etc.)
The laboratory of the PI (Dr. Auriel Willette) is located on the 2nd floor of the Human Nutrition Sciences Building, Iowa State University. The lab has dual capabilities for basic wet lab techniques (cell culture, IHC, etc.) and an array of PC and Macintosh machines dedicated to dry lab data analytics. Access to a High Performance Computing array and petabyte storage is guaranteed.
The research in Dr. Willette’s lab is broadly focused on how obesity-induced metabolic dysfunction i mpacts the aging brain, particularly in Alzheimer’s disease. The goal of the intermittent calorie restriction trial is to see if consumption of a 530 kCal shake on 2 consecutive days, followed by 5 days ad libitum, will reduce metabolic dysfunction in the periphery and the brain in overweight to obese MCI participants. This intervention is expected to result in: 1) more fMRI task activation; 2) more resting state neural network strength in key networks (e.g., Default Mode); and 3) either stable cognition or less cognitive decline compared to active controls.
Iowa State University is strongly invested in interdisciplinary research and opportunities for collaborative team building are available across various fields, including dietetics, neuroscience, immunobiology, genetics, bioengineering, cell and molecular biology, biostatistics, and bioinformatics. ISU supports campus-wide collaborative funding to enhance interdisciplinary research excellence in areas of animal and human health, with new opportunities for expanding research in the biomedical sciences. ISU supports excellent research facilities, including BSL-3 research laboratories, experimental animal facilities, cellular and molecular analysis capabilities, metabolomics, flow cytometry, advanced microscopy and imaging, statistics, and bioinformatics. ISU also has a state-of-the-science High Performance Computing array and dedicated staff for conducting large-scale parallel computing. FSHN values student-centered learning and supports and develops high quality educators. The University provides an intellectual environment committed to academic excellence and diversity, and offers mentoring programs for new faculty and staff. The College of Human Sciences, https://www.hs.iastate.edu/, is a highly regarded college for work in nutritional sciences, kinesiology, human development and family studies, and neuroscience. There are no departmental metrics in the U.S. for nutrition or nutritional sciences. CHS educates future life sciences leaders, conducts high-impact, mission-oriented research from basic to applied and shares new knowledge for the good of society.
Required Education and Experience:
*Ph.D. or equivalent doctorate (e.g., M.D., Sc.D.) in an appropriate biomedical field. Disciplines include but are not limited to Dietetics, Nutrition, Geriatrics, Neuroscience, Psychology, Neurology, and Psychiatry.
*A background in Alzheimer’s disease.
*Two or more years of experience helping to conduct clinical research with late-life participants who are cognitively unimpaired or have MCI or AD. This experience should include neuropsychological testing.
Preferred Education and Experience:
*Experience with conducting clinical research using dietary interventions (e.g., MIND, DASH, etc.)
*Experience with managing, coordinating, and mentoring junior investigators regarding clinical research.
*Expertise in either nutritional sciences, biochemistry specific to cellular respiration, or states of metabolic dysfunction such as insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome.
*Demonstrated excellence in publications, and attempted or awarded grants.
Telecommuting is allowed.
Internal Number: 000001
About Iowa State University, Food Science and Human Nutrition
Iowa State University is classified as a Carnegie Foundation Doctoral/Research University-Extensive, a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU), and ranked by U.S. News and World Report as one of the top public universities in the nation. More than 36,000 students are enrolled and are served by over 6,200 faculty and staff.
Iowa State University is a global and culturally diverse university committed to providing an inclusive, equitable, and diverse environment for both learning and employment. We know that diversity in experience and perspective is vital to advancing innovation, critical thinking, solving complex problems, and building an inclusive academic community. At Iowa State, we translate these values into action by seeking individuals who have experience working with diverse students, colleagues, and constituents. The university has an expectation that all employees will demonstrate a contribution to diversity and inclusion as embodied in Iowa State University’s Principles of Community.
Ames, Iowa is a progressive community of 60,000, located approximately 30 minutes north of Des Moines, and recently voted one of the best college towns in the nation.
Iow...a State University is an equal opportunity employer committed to excellence through diversity and strongly encourages applications from all qualified applicants, including women, underrepresented populations, and veterans. ISUis responsive to the needs of dual career couples, is dedicated to work-life balance through an array of policies, and is an NSF ADVANCE institution.
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