Identification of factors which regulates neural dedifferentiation
It has been known that differentiated cells can switch fates, more recently, we and others have uncovered mechanisms by which postmitotic cells use in vivo to reverse their differentiation state. This sort of cellular reprogramming is a fundamental process, which can invoke regenerative cells from mature cells, and can act as a reserve to generate stem cells when required. We are interested in identifying signals which regulates reactivation of stem cells from quiescence.
In this project, the student will use a range of genetic tools, to uncover the mechanism by which the stem cell niche regulates stem cell reversion. The student will utilised a brain tumour model to study how various tissues in the developing animal is affected during tumour growth, and investigate how tumour cells communicate with other tissues to gain a growth advantage under nutrient restriction.
Neural stem cells produce the neurons and glial cells that populate our central nervous system. The Cheng Lab uses the fruit fly Drosophila as a model system to study the processes that regulate stem cell self-renewal and differentiation, a key determinant of overall brain size. The aim of our work is to identify the genes that direct the behavior of stem cells and differentiated cells in the developing nervous system.
We exploit genetic and molecular tools to address the following questions: How do neurons maintain their specialised (differentiated) status? How do stem cells multiply to self-renew? How does dietary nutrients affect the ability of stem cells and stem cell derived tumours to grow and divide? How does the niche surrounding the stem cells affect stem cell and cancer stem cell behaviour?
All PhD students at Peter Mac must have a scholarship from The University of Melbourne or through another government, trust or philanthropic organisation. Before applying for a scholarship, you must have agreed on a project with an institute supervisor.
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Closing dates for applications for scholarships to commence in 2017: Round 1 -31 October 2016; Round 2 - 18 Dec 2016.