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Mentor: Dr. Safal Khanal opens a new website, Department of Optometry and Vision Science

A full-time postdoctoral position is available immediately in the myopia research laboratory of Dr. Safal Khanal at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Department of Optometry and Vision Science to study neural signals and retinal circuity of eye growth regulation and refractive development in tree shrews and humans. The position will be for one year with the possibility of an extension for another year depending upon research progress and funding availability. The postdoctoral fellow will also have opportunities to work on investigator-initiated and industry-sponsored projects, develop own research within the overall goal of the laboratory, and collaborate with the highly interactive scientific community at UAB.

The Khanal lab focuses on basic and clinical investigations of defocus signaling and emmetropization (a visually guided process that regulates eye growth and refractive development) as the basis for understanding the development and progression of myopia and devising its treatment strategies. The current emphasis is on studying the retinal and choroidal defocus signaling mechanisms and deciphering the key operating characteristics of the emmetropization machinery, including visual cues, retinal and choroidal signals of eye growth, the role of retinal neurons including photoreceptors, and the mode of signal transmission in the retinal-choroid-sclera pathway. The overall goal is to inform how the emmetropization mechanism:

  1. integrates visual information to generate growth signals,
  2. processes these signals to modulate eye growth, and
  3. fails or loses efficiency in some individuals leading to the development of myopia (nearsightedness).

The laboratory conducts basic, clinical, and translational studies using cellular and molecular, clinical, imaging, and electrophysiology techniques. The primary models are tree shrews (small dichromatic mammals closely related to primates) and humans, including children.

The UAB School of Optometry is among the few optometry schools that are a part of an academic medical center and is consistently ranked among the top three optometry schools nationally in research funding. The Department of Optometry and Vision Science at the UAB School of Optometry offers a strong supportive research environment in both laboratory and clinical settings. The UAB vision community is extensive, consisting of over 70 faculty members in the UAB Vision Science Research Center opens a new website. This center provides extensive Core facilities to all UAB vision researchers through support from an NEI P30 core grant. UAB also has a vibrant neuroscience community opens a new website with a network of more than 450 UAB neuroscience research faculty, clinicians, staff, students, and trainees.

Qualifications

Candidates must have a doctoral degree (OD, MD, and/or PhD) or foreign equivalent in Optometry, Ophthalmology, Vision Science, Neurobiology, Neuroscience, or a related discipline. Preferences will be given to creative and motivated candidates with excellent written and verbal communication skills and a demonstrated ability to work with patients in a clinical or research setting. Experience in electrophysiology and/or imaging methods and molecular biology is desirable, as is proficiency in analytical software and computer programming, but highly motivated candidates with alternate experience are also encouraged to apply.

Applications

Interested candidates should submit

  1. a curriculum vitae,
  2. a cover letter describing research background, interests, and career goals, and
  3. contact information of three references.

Consideration of applications will begin immediately and will continue until the position is filled.

The salary will be commensurate with experience and NIH guidelines. Please send applications or questions to Dr. Safal Khanal at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

About our Postdoc Office

UAB is committed to the development and success of outstanding postdoctoral scientists. Here at UAB, nearly 300 postdoctoral fellows are training currently in a variety of disciplines. Competitive postdoc awards are available including internships, grant incentives, funds to enhance education and collaboration outside UAB, and teaching opportunities at local universities. There is also a Postdoc Research Day with monetary awards. The Office of Postdoctoral Education strongly encourages UAB research mentors to follow the National Research Service Award stipend level guidelines, and postdoctoral scholars qualify for health, life, and other insurances. They also have the right to participate in the university’s 403(b) program and enjoy vacation, sick leave, maternity/paternity leave, and other benefits.

About the University

The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) is a research university and academic health center that discovers, teaches, and applies knowledge for the intellectual, cultural, social, and economic benefit of Birmingham, the state, and beyond. UAB is internationally renowned for its intensely collaborative culture that has — for more than five decades — produced breakthroughs in education, health care, research, and service. UAB was ranked #1 in the United States, and in the top 10 worldwide, in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, 2018 Young University Rankings.

Spanning more than 100 city blocks, UAB is the state of Alabama’s largest single employer with over 26,000 employees and has an annual state-wide economic impact exceeding $7.15 billion. U.S. News & World Report’s 2020 “America’s Best Graduate Schools” ranks 14 UAB graduate programs among the nation’s top 25 and 10 UAB specialties were ranked among the nation’s top 50 in the magazine’s 2018-2019 Best Hospitals report. UAB research grants and awards are at a record high, exceeding $527 million in FY18, including $320 million in NIH funding for FY18. UAB ranks 31st among all universities in federal research funding and 15th among public universities. UAB's NIH funding continues to grow among peer institutions in the Southeast and beyond, with the university ranking 20th among all universities in NIH funding and eighth among public universities. The UAB Heersink School of Medicine is ranked 21st among medical schools in NIH funding and eighth among public medical schools.

UAB is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer committed to fostering a diverse, equitable and family-friendly environment in which all faculty and staff can excel and achieve work/life balance irrespective of, race, national origin, age, genetic or family medical history, gender, faith, gender identity, and expression as well as sexual orientation. UAB also encourages applications from individuals with disabilities and veterans.

For more information on Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action at UAB, visit the UAB Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion opens a new website, call (205) 934-8762, or contact the office at 701 20th Street South, AB 336, Birmingham, AL 35294-0103.