PhD Open Position 2024/2025

Reconstruction of the sensory pathway via gene manipulation

Supervisor:

Head of the Department
Assoc. Prof. Pavla Jendelová, Ph.D.

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Project description

Spinal cord injury (SCI) causes impairment of the sensory, motor and autonomic functions. Pilot experiments have demonstrated the possibility of regenerating sensory function after spinal cord injury by expressing alpha9 integrin and kindlin-1 in DRGs. The goal of this project is to achieve complete pathway reconstruction in more clinically relevant conditions. We plan to restore sensory function in the perineal and pelvic regions. We will also restore sensation in the later (subacute and chronic) stages of spinal cord injury, as most patients remain in the chronic stage of SCI for the rest of their lives. We will also focus on the restoration of sensation in the contusion lesion model. To achieve this, we may need to guide axons using biomaterials through the contusion lesion into the spinal cord and develop a method to facilitate reinnervation of sensory nuclei. The main aims are:

  • To restore sensitivity in the perineal area.
  • To improve sensation in chronic spinal cord injury.
  • To guide axons through the contusion lesion to the spinal cord.
  • To develop a method to facilitate reinnervation of the sensory nuclei

Candidate profile

M.Sc. in biology, biotechnology or medicine. Ability to work with animals, including surgery and animal testing. We require a cover letter, CV and contacts of two experts who can provide references.

Suggested reading

  • Cheah, M. et al. Expression of an Activated Integrin Promotes Long-Distance Sensory Axon Regeneration in the Spinal Cord. J Neurosci 36, 7283-7297, doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0901-16.2016 (2016). doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2023.03.24.534172

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