Neuronal injury or disease in humans often leads to disability and mortality. Neurons in humans regenerate poorly, and there are very few methods to encourage this regeneration. We are interested in identifying new genetic mechanisms involved in neuronal regeneration. Planaria are an excellent neurobiological model, have many neurotransmitters in common with humans, and have the remarkable ability to regenerate large parts of their nervous system after injury. This PhD project will undertake large-scale gene expression analysis in regenerating planaria head and eye tissue, followed by pharmacological and/or genetic inhibition of novel identified genes in regenerating planaria and cultured mammalian neurons. The objective is to identify novel regeneration-associated genes that may then be investigated further as potential target(s) for regenerative therapies in humans.
The student will gain experience in invertebrate model techniques, mammalian cell culture, RNA-seq and qRT-PCR analysis, protein analysis (Western blotting, immunofluoresence), molecular cloning, and microscopy. The student will join active and supportive research groups, and will be part of the Interdisciplinary Hub for the Study of Health and Age-related conditions (IhSHA) at Kingston University London.
Applicants should have or be expecting to obtain at least an Upper Second (2i) class degree in a related subject (e.g. Biochemistry, Genetics, Biomedical Science). Experience in laboratory work or an MSc/MScR would be an advantage, but training on all techniques will be given.