Leon Tai

    Email Address: leontai@uic.edu
    College: Medicine Department: Anatomy and Cell Biology
    Title: Assistant Professor
    Office: CME 567B Phone: 312-996-2296
    Participating in the Chancellor’s Undergraduate Research Awards program: Yes

    Research Interest:
    Throughout the human body there are specialized, dynamic and complex cellular barriers: the blood-nerve barrier, blood-spinal cord barrier and blood-brain barrier. These barrier interfaces play a central role in homeostasis and neuronal function, through preventing the uptake of unwanted molecules, removing waste products, supplying essential nutrients and signaling molecules, and modulating inflammation. Our goal is to identify and therapeutically target mechanistic pathways that underlie barrier and neuronal dysfunction in aging and neurodegenerative disorders including Alzheimer's disease, chronic pain, ALS and metabolic dysfunction.

    Minimum time commitment in hours per week: 12 + willingness to come in on weekends

    Qualifications of a Student:
    We are looking for Freshman and Sophomore students (Prior research experience not necessary). Incoming Juniors are welcome if they have prior biology wet lab experience.

    Preferred Majors:
    -Biological Sciences
    -Biochemistry
    -Chemistry

    Minimum GPA: 3.2

    Prerequisites:
    -Ability to learn quickly
    -Ability to master new techniques
    -Good communication skills
    -Applicant sure be mature, reliable, and organized
    -Ability to work independently

    Priority will be given to those eligible for the CURA program.

    Brief Summary of what is expected from the student:
    Time commitment:
    Students are expected to commit to working in the lab ~12 hours per week and to be able to be in the lab for periods of 3 to 5 hours per day. Expect to devote 100% of your attention to lab when you are here.

    Keeping grades up is the priority, students are expected to be at work promptly, to devote work time to work tasks, and to manage their time wisely.

    Freshmen or Sophomores: We require a willingness to commit to working in the lab for 3+ years, pending an initial evaluation period.

    Juniors need prior research experience in specific research areas (cell culture, western blot analysis, working with mice, etc).

    Full-time summer employment is an option (pending initial evaluation period), as is developing a lab project for honors thesis.

    Training Plan:
    Initial responsibilities will include general laboratory (e.g. dish washing) and administrative duties.

    With gained experience, responsibilities will include: genotyping/PCR, tissue culture, western blotting and fluorescence microscopy.

    The goal for each student is to gain enough competence and independence to receive their own project and be relied upon to provide repeatable and consistent results for publications.

    Contact researcher via URE Email Webform

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