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Four postdoc positions available, Cambridge and Prague

Four post-doc positions are available for collaborative projects between the University of Cambridge (James Fawcett, Richard Eva) University of Leeds (Jessica Kwok) and the Institute of Experimental Medicine in Prague (Pavla Jendelova and Sarka Kubinova). Two post-docs will be based primarily in Prague, two in Cambridge. The post-docs will spend time working in all three cities. 

Postdoc position (Corticospinal tract regeneration) available in the Institute of Experimental Medicine
 
Regeneration of axons in the damaged spinal cord has been a central aim of neuroscience for many decades. Long-distance axon regeneration with accurate connections is the only way to bring back substantial function after spinal cord injury. In the past year James Fawcett and his group in Cambridge has demonstrated a method for long distance regeneration (from forelimb levels to brain) of sensory axons in the spinal cord, with correct connections and excellent functional recovery. This method depends on expressing an integrin that recognises tenascin-C that is present in the spinal cord matrix with kindlin-1 to overcome inactivation by inhibitory molecules. The aim of this project is to apply this concept, in collaboration with Cambridge University, to descending motor connections in the corticospinal tract. The concept is that many growth-related molecules including integrins are excluded from mature axons as part of the process that directs molecules specifically to dendrites or axons. Recent work has shown that axonal transport of integrins and other receptors can be restored by interventions affecting activation of the trafficking GTPase Arf6 and by expression of a form of PI3kinase.  The experiments will optimise methods to overcome selective exclusion of integrins from mature cortical axons, then apply these to regeneration in the spinal cord.

Cheah, M., M.R. Andrews, D.J. Chew, E.B. Moloney, J. Verhaagen, R. Fassler, and J.W. Fawcett. 2016. Expression of an Activated Integrin Promotes Long-Distance Sensory Axon Regeneration in the Spinal Cord. J Neurosci. 36:7283-7297.

The position is available now, and funding is available for up to 5 years. Further information from Pavla Jendelova (jendel@biomed.cas.cz) and James Fawcett (jf108@cam.ac.uk) 


Postdoc position (Hyaluronan extracellular matrix) available in the Institute of Experimental Medicine

Hyaluronan is the backbone of the CNS extracellular matrix and a key component of perineuronal nets. It acts as an organizer to which other extracellular matrix components (such as proteoglycans) bind, but also has direct actions via hyaluronan receptors. The properties and effects of the hyaluronan matrix are modulated by changes in the length of the chains, with chain length having particular effects on inflammation. Hyaluronan is also a key component of biomaterials for insertion into the nervous system. The project will measure hyaluronan chain length and properties in different CNS matrix compartments, and examine changes after ageing, damage and inflammation. The roles of the hyaluronan synthases and cell surface hyaluronidases will be examined, and the effects of expression changes investigated. The effects on hyaluronan modulation on peroperties controlled by perineuronal nets such as memory will be particular focus. 

"GAG-ing with the neuron ": The role of glycosaminoglycan patterning in the central nervous system.

Smith PD, Coulson-Thomas VJ, Foscarin S, Kwok JC, Fawcett JW.

Exp Neurol. 2015 Dec;274(Pt B):100-14

The position is available now, and funding is available for up to 5 years. Further information from

Sarka Kubinova (sarka.k@biomed.cas.cz) and Jessica Kwok (j.kwok@leeds.ac.uk)


2 Postdoc positions (Spinal Cord Repair) available in  the Brain Repair Centre, University of Cambridge

Axon regeneration in the CNS fails because of the inhibitory environment and because axons lose the intrinsic ability to regenerate. Recent work from Cambridge has shown that intrinsic regeneration ability is lost with maturity in the CNS because of changes in axon transport and signalling. The group have shown that axon transport regulated by Rab11, Arf6 and EFA6 and axon signalling controlled by a form of PI3Kinase are critical to the transport of molecules such as integrins involved in axon regeneration and to the ability of mature axons to regenerate. The project will optimise axon regeneration using various strategies using an in vitro laser axotomy model and investigate mechanisms. The treatments will be tested in spinal injury pilot experiments, then a full regeneration trial of corticospinal regeneration with behavioural outcomes will be done. 

There are two post-doc positions which will collaborate on the project. One will focus more on in vitro models and mechanisms of regeneration, the other on in vivo regeneration and mechanism experiments. 

EFA6 regulates selective polarised transport and axon regeneration from the axon 2 initial segment 3 Running Title: EFA6 regulates axon regeneration Richard Eva , Hiroaki Koseki , Venkateswarlu Kanamarlapudi , James W. Fawcett in press. http://biorxiv.org/content/biorxiv/early/2017/06/14/150037.full.pdf 

Franssen, E.H., R.R. Zhao, H. Koseki, V. Kanamarlapudi, C.C. Hoogenraad, R. Eva, and J.W. Fawcett. 2015. Exclusion of integrins from CNS axons is regulated by Arf6 activation and the AIS. J Neurosci. 35:8359-8375.

The positions are available from October 2017 for three years. Further information from James Fawcett (jf108@cam.ac.uk) and Richard Eva (re263@cam.ac.uk). 

Posted on 03/08/2017

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