A gene therapy program laboratory at UCLA that studies intellectual disabilities caused by metabolic disease is recruiting a postdoctoral fellow. The successful applicant will probe and study the CNS in murine models of these disorders to provide a greater understanding of the underlying neuropathology and effect of gene therapy in its resolution.
The goals of the basic research endeavor of the laboratory are focused primarily on developing effective gene and cell therapies for urea cycle disorders using murine models. Specifically, efforts have been to develop such approaches in neonatal models of human disease focusing primarily on the disorder arginase deficiency. The cause and mechanism of brain injury is different than other disorders where hyperammonemia results in early mortality; in arginase deficiency elevated ammonia is uncommon, and the disease is relentless and progressive. There is no effective therapy for this disorder available to patients, however we have developed both gene- and cell-based approaches that have prevented the underlying CNS dysfunction. As part of this endeavor, we have directed considerable effort to try to understand the underlying neuropathology that occurs in arginase deficiency with hyperargininemia and the postdoctoral researcher will work in this area. We have recently published some novel findings and therapies in both JCI Insight and PNAS.
A PhD in a scientific field, preferably neuroscience, is required. The individual must possess knowledge of murine neurodevelopment and neuroanatomy. Experience with mouse models, quantitative RT-PCR and immunohistochemically staining of the CNS are essential. Experience is preferred in one or both of the following areas: electrophysiology and whole-cell recordings from neurons of the CNS, and oligodendrocyte biology. Experience in tissue clearing technology is a plus. Previous experience in confocal and electron microscopy is desired, but not required.
To be successful in this position, the candidate must be highly motivated and able to work independently to design and execute experiments, possess a high level of initiative and attention to detail, and must also be able to multi-task and prioritize work at short notice. Candidates with excellent organizational and communication skills are encouraged to apply.
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