The “Neurobiology of miRNA” and the “Polymers and Biomaterials” Research Lines of IIT in Genoa, are seeking to employ a post-doctoral candidate to implement a strategy for the manipulation of neural stem cells from adult mammalian brain through the nanoparticle-mediated delivery of microRNA (miRNA).
The latter are a class of small noncoding RNAs expressed in virtually all organisms; in the mammalian brain, they regulate essential genes and pathways, e.g. in adult hippocampal neurogenesis.
In the adult brain, stem cells are preserved in few “niches” where they generate neurons (and glia) throughout life. Adult neurogenesis may influence learning, memory and as it is regulated by the environment (e.g. physical activity), hence it is considered a form of brain’s “structural” plasticity. Several conditions, such as ageing and perturbation of daily rhythms, have been shown to strongly reduce the capacity of neural stem cell for self-renewal and for the generation of adult neurons, thus paving the way to neuro-pathologies such as cognitive decline and depression. The project focuses on understanding the role of the selective miRNA-mediated abrogation of some pathways on the neurogenic capacity of these stems cells.
One year Postdoctoral position will be available starting from January 2018 to explore the use of Nanoparticle-mediated RNA delivery strategies to manipulate specific miRNAs, to sustain self-renewal of adult neural stem.
In our laboratory we have identified miRNAs that are necessary and sufficient to support the adult neurogenesis fate in adult neural stem cells (Pons-Espinal et al Stem Cell Reports 2017) and developed chitosan/hyaluronic acid nanoparticles that are optimized for the delivery of small RNAs (Lallana E et al Mol Pharm. 2017). The project will be conducted by combining expertise in molecular biology, drug delivery and nanomaterials as well as cell biology of neural stem cells, genomics, imaging. Thus, this project is at the interface of different disciplines, and will exploit the multidisciplinary expertise of IIT. Our labs are located in the IIT Central research labs in Genoa, Italy and provide state-of-the-art laboratory facilities.
Ideal candidate must hold a PhD in Neuroscience, (Stem) cell biology, Biochemistry or a related discipline and be highly motivated and creative individuals who want to work in a dynamic, multi-disciplinary research environment. The essential criteria for the candidates to be consider include expertise in:
Prior experience in general drug delivery with nanomaterials, and/or in nucleic acid delivery through viral or non-viral carriers is strongly desired, although not absolutely necessary. A good knowledge of the English language is an absolute requisite. Successful applicants should also be willing to learn a variety of complementary techniques ranging from imaging, transgene expression via genetic or acute manipulations (e.g., virus preparation injection and/or electroporation), to genome-wide profiling and biochemistry.
Position will be open until filled but please apply by November 20, 2017.
Fondazione Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia – IIT (www.iit.it) was founded with the objective of promoting Italy’s technological development and further education in science and technology. In this sense, IIT's scientific program is based on the combination of basic scientific research with the development of technical applications, a major inspirational principle. The research areas cover scientific topics of high innovative content representing the most advanced frontiers of modern technology, with wide application possibilities in various fields ranging from medicine to industry, from computer science to robotics, life sciences and nano-biotechnology.
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Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia is an Equal Opportunity Employer that actively seeks diversity in the workforce.