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EASTBIO Immune-neuro interactions in regenerative neurogenesis in zebrafish

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Sunday, January 05, 2020
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Zebrafish, in contrast to mammals, are capable of recovering from spinal cord injury. Spinal cord regeneration in zebrafish involves reactivation of spinal progenitor cells, which generate neurons that integrate into the repaired network. It is important to understand which signals re-program the progenitor cells for regeneration. We have recently shown that the immune system is important for regenerative neurogenesis (Tsarouchas et al., 2018, Nat Commun; 9(1):4670; Caldwell et al, 2019, J Neurosci, 39(24):4694-4713), but how immune cells communicate with neural progenitor cells is largely unknown. The PhD student will generate and analyse data from single cell RNA sequencing of the injured spinal cord and the activated immune cells to find candidate signalling molecules from immune cells that may activate neural progenitor cells. We have already performed preliminary experiments that highlight signal/receptor pairs that may regulate regenerative neurogenesis. These and new ones from additional single cell sequencing will be analysed using CRISPR/Cas9-mediated knock outs of the genes in question, followed by histological and behavioural analyses. This will indicate novel ligand receptor interactions that may ultimately contribute to therapeutic strategies for non-regenerating mammals.

This is an exciting time to join the Becker group, as we have cutting-edge and powerful methods, such as single cell RNA sequencing (in collaboration with Neil Henderson’s group), and CRISPR/Cas9 technology available to dissect the regeneration process. The student will be trained in Bioinformatics, zebrafish handling, quantitative PCR, targeted gene editing, immunohistochemistry and behavioural analyses.

Funding Notes

This 4 year PhD project is part of a competition funded by EASTBIO BBSRC Doctoral Training Partnership. This opportunity is only open to UK nationals (or EU students who have been resident in the UK for 3+ years immediately prior to the programme start date) due to restrictions imposed by the funding body. EU applicants without a history of residency in the UK are eligible to apply, but would only be awarded the fees (not the stipend). All candidates should have or expect to have a minimum of an upper 2nd class degree in an appropriate discipline.


Download application and reference forms via: http://www.eastscotbiodtp.ac.uk/how-apply-0
Completed application form along with your supporting documents should be sent to our PGR student team at [email protected] by 5th January 2020.

References: Please send the reference request form to two referees. Completed references for this project should also be returned to [email protected] by the closing date: 5th January 2020.

It is your responsibility to ensure that references are provided by the specified deadline.

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