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Regulation of progenitor biology by neural activity

Project Description

The McFarlane lab ( is interested in how nerve cells are specified and differentiate, and how nerve cells and tissues acquire their correct morphology. One key project is trying to understand how neural crest progenitors are regulated by sensory inputs that induce nerve activity in the visual system. We use the developing visual systems of zebrafish and Xenopus laevis as our vertebrate models, because of the ease of identifying molecules and mechanisms in the live organism that are important in controlling progenitor proliferation and differentiation. We want to welcome a graduate student to work on a project investigating the regulation of neural crest progenitor biology by neural activity, combining microsurgery, pharmacology, CRISPR technology, in vivo imaging, and fluorescent transgenic lines. Prior research experience would be a positive. The McFarlane lab is situated in the Hotchkiss Brain Institute ( at the University of Calgary, and trainees have access to large and vibrant Neuroscience and Developmental Biology/Genetic communities. Enrollment would be in the Graduate Program in Neuroscience ( Calgary is 45-60 min from the Canadian Rockies, with fantastic skiing and hiking. Please send a letter of interest, an unofficial transcript and an up-to-date CV to Dr. Sarah McFarlane ().

Funding Notes

The project is funded for 5 years (2018-2022) as are the funds for a graduate student. The student, however, will be expected to apply for external awards to help fund their salary.


Please provide the names and contact information for three potential referees.

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