NIH-funded: Cell & Dev Biology of Neurons – How are Dendrites Shaped?
We seek a creative and productive individual who has a beginning or ongoing interest in neuron cell & dev biology. For initial studies, some familiarity with cell culture, immuno-precipitations/ running gels and microscopy would be a plus. The applicant should be finishing their Ph.D. soon or have recently completed it. In this NIH-funded project we address the question: how are dendrite morphologies generated? The shaping of dendrites must take place properly for normal neuron connectivity to arise in the central nervous system, with alterations contributing to pathologies including mental retardation and dementia. Through the binding of novel protein-partners, we discovered that delta-catenin regulates the branching and length of dendrites. We propose to identify both the upstream pathways involved (e.g. ligands and kinases), and the downstream mediators (e.g. cytoskeletal modulators) that promote these dramatic branching versus lengthening outcomes. We will additionally examine related catenin proteins and their complexes. Laboratory members can select from a number of experimental systems including primary rat hippocampal neurons, mammalian cell lines, and frog embryos, plus undertake collaborative ventures involving other models. Pierre McCrea Ph.D. has extensive mentorship experience. Prior trainees have gone on to successful academic as well as other rewarding scientific careers.
The Texas Medical Center in Houston houses MD Anderson and multiple other top-flight scientific institutions within walking distance (Baylor College of Medicine; UT Health Science Center; Rice University; Methodist Research Institute; TX A&M Institute of Biosciences and Technology), or within bicycling distance (U Houston). This immense depth of collaborators/ programs/ cores insures a cutting-edge research/ ideas environment. Houston boasts a diverse culture near the Gulf Coast, and affordable living in our nation’s fourth largest city. MD Anderson offers well-regarded professional development opportunities and benefits. This is an NIH pay-scale position.
To apply, please email Dr. Pierre McCrea the following as one PDF:
1) Cover letter or email stating your general career objectives and research interests
3) Names of three references
Development and Cell Biology of Neurons (delta-Catenin)
Graduate students interested in the developmental and cellular biology of catenins are encouraged to contact Pierre McCrea, as well as postdoctoral fellow, Ryan Baumert, who initiated our group’s work upon delta-catenin in the context of dendrite formation. In addition to our studies upon delta-catenin in neurons, we have further interests centered on additional catenin proteins and associated partners. This includes probing the networked versus independent roles of catenins in the nucleus, as well as their actions at cell-cell junctions and in the cytoplasm. Students are always welcome to join us for a rotation in the lab, and are encouraged to email Dr. Pierre McCrea to discuss the current active projects in the laboratory.
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