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You can apply for this job no later than January 15, 2019 via the online application tool
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You will have the opportunity to shape and lead a multidisciplinary research line focusing on the further characterization of the role of dendrites in axonal regeneration, meanwhile also supervising junior PhD students working on similar/complementary projects.
The Neural Circuit Development and Regeneration Research Group (NCDR), located in the Biology Department at KU Leuven (Belgium) has a strong interest in defining cellular/molecular mechanisms underlying neurodegeneration, neuroinflammation and regeneration in the eye/visual system of teleost fish and rodents (for more info see: http://bio.kuleuven.be/df/LM/). The quest for neuroprotective and/or regenerative therapies to tackle neurodegenerative disorders and central nervous system (CNS) trauma continues to be a central theme in our research. Despite intensive research efforts, induction of regeneration and subsequent functional recovery of the injured mammalian CNS remains a challenge. As the CNS of adult mammals only has a limited regenerative capacity, identifying cellular and molecular mechanisms that enable neuronal regeneration indeed forms a critical step towards designing future pro-regenerative therapies. Within this project we aim to validate our intriguing findings and innovative hypothesis that dendritic/synaptic remodeling are essential for axonal regeneration, and assess whether adequate intra-neuronal energy channeling could underlie the observed antagonistic interplay between dendrite and axon regrowth in the CNS. Thereto, this work will include state-of-the-art in vitro microfluidic approaches and combine molecular, biochemical, and functional tools with quantitative anatomy using ex-vivo and in-vivo 2-photon imaging in zebrafish and mice. As adult zebrafish retinal neurons regenerate spontaneously, they form an ideal model to unravel the dendrite-inherent mechanisms contributing to successful axonal regeneration. Subsequent identification of underlying regulatory molecules via omics approaches, and confirmation and validation of our findings in mice, will generate pivotal insights into how re-directing mitochondrial trafficking/functioning may promote neuronal repair in the mammalian CNS.
All research runs within the ‘Vision Core Leuven’, a preclinical animal platform which brings together cutting-edge technologies within the field of ocular imaging, electrophysiology and visual function testing in laboratory animals (see: http://www.visioncore.be/).