Scope of the project: This project aims to uncover the roles and mechanisms of action of non-coding RNAs within axons during brain wiring. A wide array of well-established but also cutting-edge techniques will be used for the accomplishment of this project such as Next Generation Sequencing, in vivo and ex vivo live imaging, ex vivo chemotropic assays.
Background: Brain wiring occurs during the development of the nervous system and ensures the formation of complex networks of inter-communicating neurons. This process is considered to be absolutely crucial during development because these neural circuits, once they are formed, constitute the basis of any brain activity. Complex arrays of regulatory mechanisms are suspected to be in place to avoid any connection errors. Non-coding RNAs have recently emerged as crucial regulatory molecules. The host lab has recently revealed that small non-coding RNAs, microRNAs, have a crucial role in brain wiring. However the mechanisms of action of these small RNAs and the roles of other RNA species such as long non-coding RNAs and circular RNAs are still unknown.
Host Lab: The project will be conducted within the G. Armenise-Harvard laboratory of Axonal Neurobiology headed by Marie-Laure Baudet. The lab is widely funded by grants from the Armenise-Harvard Foundation (USA), the European Commission and the Italian Ministry for Education, Universities and Research (MIUR). It has established collaborations with the University of Cambridge, EMBL and LANGEBio. Publication track record of the group leader can be found here https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=baudet+ML+%5BAU%5D. The lab webpage can be consulted here: http://www.cibio.unitn.it/174/the-giovanni-armenise-harvard-laboratory-of-axonal-neurobiology
Length and Internship: The length of the PhD is 3 years. This includes a period of internship abroad for up to one year. The host lab has established collaborations with the University of Cambridge, EMBL and LANGEBio where an internship could be considered.
Host Institute: The University of Trento Center for Integrative Biology (CIBIO), is the top ranked medium-size academic institutions in Italy, located in the heart of the Alps. It is a new, international and multidisciplinary research center equipped with state-of-the-art technologies. More information can be found at: http://www.cibio.unitn.it/
Keywords: nervous system, brain wiring, axon, axon guidance, development, neurodevelopmental disorders, neuroregeneration, RNA, non-coding RNA, microRNA, miRNA, circular RNA, circRNA, long non-coding RNA, lncRNA, local translation, RNA localization
The successful candidate should be highly motivated, display initiative and independence. Candidates with a Master’s Degree in Biological Sciences or related disciplines, with strong knowledge in RNA biology, and a background in Neuroscience and / or Molecular Biology are encouraged to apply.
Bellon A, Iyer A, Bridi S, Lee FC, Ovando-Vázquez C, Corradi E, Longhi S, Roccuzzo M, Strohbuecker S, Naik S, Sarkies P, Miska E, Abreu-Goodger C, Holt CE, Baudet ML. (2017) miR-182 Regulates Slit2-Mediated Axon Guidance by Modulating the Local Translation of a Specific mRNA. Cell Rep. 18(5):1171-1186. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2016.12.093.
Iyer AN, Bellon A, Baudet ML. (2014) microRNAs in axon guidance. Front Cell Neurosci. 14;8:78. doi: 10.3389/fncel.2014.00078. eCollection 2014.
Baudet ML, Zivraj KH, Abreu-Goodger C, Muldal A, Armisen J, Blenkiron C, Goldstein LD, Miska EA, Holt CE. (2012) miR-124 acts through CoREST to control onset of Sema3A sensitivity in navigating retinal growth cones. Nat Neurosci. 15(1):29-38. doi: 10.1038/nn.2979.