Projects

Recruitment to the NRPDTP and iCASE programmes are now open. The deadline for applications is the 27th November 2017.

02 / 10 / 2017

Molecular re-awakening of brain's quiescent stem cells to counteract ageing (HAJIHOSSEINI_U18DTP)

how to apply

Healthy ageing of the adult mammalian brain is compromised by its inability to replace neurons that are lost to 'wear and tear' or genetically-driven neurodegenerative processes. Recent discoveries, however, show that diverse areas of the adult mammalian brain may harbour stem/ progenitor cells, but these are largely kept asleep or in a slow dividing state. Re-wakening these cells may offer a tool for neuronal replenishment of the aged brain. Work from our laboratory suggests that distinct members of the Fibroblast growth factor (FGF) family are expressed by and act within these stem cells themselves, to possibly induce a state of dormancy. For this project, we seek a highly-motivated and ambitious student to investigate the molecular interactions through which FGFs operate to induce this dormancy. Both in vivo and in vitro approaches will be used. The investigations include: (i) measuring how slow these stem/progenitors divide in vivo and whether taking the cells out of their normal environment or altering the levels of FGF function enhances their division and production of new neurons; (ii) identifying the proteins that interact with FGF within cells to regulate a state of dormancy, and (iii) validating the nature of the interactions between FGF and the identified candidates.

The student will join a dynamic team of neuroscientists and become trained in a host of cellular and molecular techniques ranging from tissue sectioning, immunolabelling and high-resolution image capture/analysis, to gene cloning, in situ hybridization, proteomics and bioinformatics. The student will also acquire a strong personal and professional development portfolio, in preparation for a research career.