Dr Florian Merkle

Florian Merkle

University position

Senior Research Associate

Dr Florian Merkle is pleased to consider applications from prospective PhD students.

Departments

Department of Clinical Biochemistry

Institutes

Institute of Metabolic Science and Wellcome Trust Centre for Stem Cell Research

Email

fm436@medschl.cam.ac.uk

Home page

http://www.mrl.ims.cam.ac.uk/staff/

Research Themes

Developmental Neuroscience

Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

Interests

My laboratory uses pluripotent stem cells to model human diseases that arise from the loss of aberrant function of neurons in the hypothalamus that regulate essential physiological and behavioural processes. In particular, obesity is thought to result from abnormal function of hypothalamic neurons that regulate food intake, and the sleep disorder obesity results from the specific loss of sleep-regulatory hypothalamic neurones. I recently developed methods to generate these hypothalamic neurone populations from human pluripotent stem cells, and edit their genomes to generate reporter cell lines and to introduce disease-causing mutations. Our laboratory combines these tools and interrogates the resulting cellular and molecular phenotypes using imaging, sequencing, and biochemical tools.

Outstanding graduate students or postdoctoral candidates interested in contributing to this work should contact me at fm436@medschl.cam.ac.uk.

Human stem cell derived hypothalamic neurones expressing the peptide hypocretin (HCRT also known as orexin) in green or melanin concentrating hormone (MCH) in red. HCRT neurones regulate sleep and are lost in narcolepsy, and MCH neurones promote feeding behaviour.
Human stem cell derived hypothalamic neurones expressing the peptide hypocretin (HCRT also known as orexin) in green or melanin concentrating hormone (MCH) in red. HCRT neurones regulate sleep and are lost in narcolepsy, and MCH neurones promote feeding behaviour.
Click image to view full-size

Research Focus

Keywords

hypothalamus

stem cell

obesity

narcolepsy

neuron

Clinical conditions

Autoimmune diseases

Cognitive impairment

Degenerative diseases

Eating disorders

Narcolepsy

Obesity

Sleep disorders

Equipment

Calcium imaging

Cell culture

DREADDs

Fluorescence Microscopy

Immunohistochemistry

Microscopy

Optogenetics

Proteomics

RNAseq

Single-cell sequencing

Viral gene delivery