CHROMATIN REMODELLING AND NEURONAL FUNCTION – STUDY OF THE INTERACTION WITH ENVIRONMENT IN A MOUSE MODEL OF RETT SYNDROME.
- Candidates should holda PhDdegree in: Biology, Biochemistry, Medicine, Veterinary Medicine or in related fields.
- Experience in Molecular and/or Cell Biology or in Behavioural testingof rodent models is required.
Working Place: Life and Health Sciences Research Institute (ICVS), University of Minho, Gualtar Campus, Braga, Portugal. The project will involve international exchange and cooperation.
Financial Support and Conditions:
Funding needs to be obtained througha joint application involving the candidate and the supervisorto be submittedtoFundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT)
Applications, Deadlines and Evaluation of Candidates:
Applications can be submitted in Portuguese or English and must include: a cover letter,detailed CV (including summaries of previous works or publications)at leasttwo recommendation letters (including contact informations) and academic transcripts.
Deadline for the applications is 15 of March 2006.
Deadline for the project proposal is 31 of March.
According to the FCT successful candidateswill initiatetheir project in January 2007.
For further information please contact the Supervisor.
Candidates will be evaluated and pre-selected based on the submitted documents. Only the pre-selected group of candidates will be informed and invited for personal interview or contacted regarding the final selection process.
Applications must be sent to:
Patricia Maciel Ph.D.,
Life and Health Sciences Research Institute (ICVS)
School of Health Sciences
University of Minho
Gualtar Campus, 4710-057 Braga
Description of the project:
The purpose of this study is to determine the role of MeCP2, a protein involved in chromatin remodelling, in neural function, and to correlate its loss of function with the pathogenesis of Rett syndrome, a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by mental retardation and autism-like features. Recent studies suggest that MeCP2 has a role in regulating activity-dependent gene transcription in neurons, necessary for the establishment and stabilisation of functional neuronal circuits and for synaptic plasticity. If this is the case, absence of Mecp2 should disrupt signalling pathways that allow the experience-driven modulation of dendritic morphology and synaptic capacity. In order to test our hypothesis, we propose to evaluate the effects of interaction with environment in the CNS of Mecp2 KO mice, using three different experimental paradigms in which experience-driven modifications of dendrites and synapses have been well characterized: (1) rearing in an enriched environment, (2) training of a motor task and (3) exposure to chronic stress.
Our group has previous experience in the field of neurogenetics, first from a human genetics perspective, then evolving to functional genomics, through the study of the normal function of genes which, when mutated, lead to neuron dysfunction and degeneration. Currently ongoing studies also involve the generation of animal models of human neurological disease, in mouse and in C. elegans. The current project would complement the ongoing research in the genetic epidemiology of Rett syndrome in Portugal, adding these two perspectives - of the functional genomics and of the molecular study of mechanisms of pathogenesis in CNS.