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Role of Fibroblast Growth Factors in wiring of hypothalamic hunger circuits (HAJIHOSSEINIM_U22DON)


   School of Biological Sciences

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  Dr M Hajihosseini  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Hunger and satiety as well as levels of energy expenditure is regulated by complex tissue interaction and neurons of the mediobasal hypothalamus sit at the core of these interactions. In recent studies we showed that new neurons are added to the adult hypothalamic circuitry that regulates appetite/ energy expenditure by a population of neural stem/progenitors termed Tanycytes, possibly to endow malleability to this circuit. However, the vast of number of hypothalamic neurons, carrying different neurotransmitter subtypes, are generated during embryonic periods.

Lead by a set of preliminary data, we now hypothesize that interactions between several members of the Fibroblast Growth Factor (FGF) family is critical to generation of the correct cohort of hypothalamic neurons during embryogenesis. In this project, we will use transgenic mice that allow lineage-tracing and gene knockout as well as invitro systems, to ask: (i) Do FGF-expressing cells act as precursors of hypothalamic neurons, and if so, what cohorts of neurons are generated? (ii) Do FGFs regulate expression of neurotransmitters? (iii) Is there any genetic cross regulation between FGFs during the embryonic period of hypothalamic neurogenesis?

This project suits a motivated student wishing to pursue a research career in neurosciences. Through this project, the student will become trained in a host of cellular and molecular techniques and acquire transferrable skills through personal development courses delivered by the Norwich Research Park.


Funding Notes

This PhD studentship is funded for three years . Applications are welcomed from those applicants eligible for home tuition fees only (https://www.uea.ac.uk/about/university-information/finance-and-procurement/finance-information-for-students/tuition-fees). Funding comprises an annual stipend (£16,062 pa), home tuition fees and some research costs.

References

i) Haan, N., et al. (2013) Fgf10-expressing tanycytes add new neurons to the appetite/energy-balance
centres of the postnatal and adult hypothalamus. Journal of Neuroscience 33: 6170-6180.
ii) Goodman, T. and Hajihosseini, M.K. (2015) Hypothalamic Tanycytres – Masters and servants of neuroendorcrine, metabolic and neurogenic processes. Frontiers in Neuroscience 9: Article 387.
iii) Goodman, T., et al. (2020) Fgf10 is a negative regulator of neurogenesis in the postnatal mouse hypothalamus. Development 147: 1-12
iv) Kaminskas, B.., et al. (2019) Characterization of endogenous players in Fibroblast Growth Factor-regulated functions of hypothalamic tanycytes and energy-balance nuclei. Journal of Neuroendocrinology e12750: 1-12.
v) Hagan, A., et al. (2019) Generation and validation of novel conditional flox and inducible Cre alleles of fibroblast growth factor 18 Developmental Dynamics 248 (9): 882-893.
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