23/06/2022
The Human Resources Strategy for Researchers

Intraneuronal energy channeling as a prerequisite for functional CNS repair


  • ORGANISATION/COMPANY
    KU Leuven
  • RESEARCH FIELD
    NeurosciencesNeurobiology
  • RESEARCHER PROFILE
    First Stage Researcher (R1)
  • APPLICATION DEADLINE
    15/08/2022 23:59 - Europe/Brussels
  • LOCATION
    Belgium › Leuven
  • TYPE OF CONTRACT
    To be defined
  • JOB STATUS
    Full-time
  • HOURS PER WEEK
    38
  • REFERENCE NUMBER
    BAP-2022-442

OFFER DESCRIPTION

Brain trauma and neurodegenerative disorders represent a critical socioeconomic challenge in our aging society, partly because the central nervous system (CNS) of mammals has a limited regenerative capacity. Most of the injured neurons die, and the few survivors fail to extend their axons beyond the damaged site. Despite many years of research, functional circuit regeneration is still not possible. To tackle this challenge, our teams combine complementary animal models: zebrafish, that display robust regeneration of the CNS after injury, and mice, which like humans do not. We recently revealed an antagonistic axon-dendrite interplay in adult zebrafish neurons, wherein the retraction of dendrites is needed for effective axonal repair, and also showed that the distribution and morphology of mitochondria change in the different neuronal compartments during injury-induced axonal regeneration. Based on these observations, we hypothesize that the inter-dependency of dendritic and axonal regrowth is resource limited. To test our hypothesis, we are investigating how the allocation of energy production shifts in single neurons among distinct compartments during injury-induced regrowth in both zebrafish and mice. Using a combination of bioinformatic, molecular and imaging approaches, we aim to uncover a set of molecular targets and mechanistic principles that support functional circuit repair in the mammalian CNS.

The PhD project specifically aims at characterizing local changes in mitochondrial dynamics and metabolic processes in adult mouse RGCs during injury-induced regeneration using a combination of innovative approaches, such as retina and brain explants in an ex vivo microfluidic set-up, sparse neuronal labeling in vivoex vivo and in vivo imaging using confocal, two-photon and light-sheet microscopy. Furthermore, based on single-cell RNA sequencing and bioinformatic analyses, a set of potential target molecules involved in mitochondrial dynamics and bioenergetics underlying axonal/dendritic regrowth phases will be validated.

More Information

Benefits

  • An exciting working environment where quality, professionalism and human contacts are paramount.
  • The opportunity to be part of a dynamic and collaborative team and provide a meaningful contribution to the identification of molecular targets to enhance regenerative growth and reconnection, applicable to neurodegenerative diseases and promoting neural repair.

Eligibility criteria

  • You have a master degree in Biology, Biochemistry, Bio-engineering, Biophysics, Biomedical Sciences or equivalent.
  • You have good knowledge of the English language, both spoken and written.
  • You have a strong interest in neurobiology – ophthalmology.  
  • You have strong interest in neurodegenerative diseases and repair strategies
  • Any prior experience in imaging, histology, molecular biology or omics analyses is an asset.

Furthermore, as a candidate, you are well organized and eager to learn new technologies, you are creative and goal oriented, you have good social and  communicative skills, you are flexible, you are a team player and enthusiastic to obtain new expertise.

Selection process

Interested applicants should send a detailed Curriculum Vitae, a concise letter of motivation and the contact information of 1-2 references to Lieve Moons via mail: lieve.moons@kuleuven.be.
You can apply for this job no later than 15/08/2022 via the online application tool

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Work location(s)
1 position(s) available at
Katholieke Universiteit te Leuven
Belgium
Leuven
3000

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EURAXESS offer ID: 803574

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