Vacancies

Vacancies and career opportunities

Andreas Reichenbach // Job description:

ESR (PhD Student)
Title: Mueller (glial) cells as indicators of - and possible players in - myopia Team: Head: Andreas Reichenbach, Prof. Dr. (Paul Flechsig Institute of Brain Research, Medical Faculty of the Universitaet Leipzig). Our team, including six postdocs and more than 10 doctoral students, is worldwide the largest group devoted to research on retinal glial (Mueller) cells. We are applying various techniques (fluorescence imaging techniques with confocal and two-photon microscopy, patch-clamp electrophysiology, cell and organ cultures, electron- and light microscopy including morphometry, etc) to elucidate the role of Mueller cells in retinal development, mature functioning, and pathology. For this purpose, we are collaborating with the eye clinic (Prof. P. Wiedemann: clinical impact of Mueller cells) and with the Institute of Experimental Physics (Prof. J. Kaes, Dr. J. Guck: Biomechanics of Mueller cells). In the present project, Mueller cells will be used to monitor local retinal expansion, by counting their cellular densities and measuring their lengths and diameters. Furthermore, features of reactive gliosis will be monitored. This part provides a "calibration tool" for the other projects.
Methods: Immunohistochemical/morphometrical mapping of Mueller cells in retinal wholemounts will be performed along a time series of normal development, in comparison to age-matched experimental animals in which axial myopia is induced by Egr deficiency. Particular emphasis will be on the development of gliotic features. In (late) stages of stress-induced gliosis, the Mueller cell hypertrophy will be quantitatively characterized. The following methods will be employed:

  • Immunohistochemistry on retinal wholemount preparations (visualization of vimetin: normal Mueller cells; GFAP: reactive Mueller cells)
  • Confocal microscopic imaging and morphometry
  • Patch-clamping of normal / reactive Mller cells to confirm gliotic alterations (loss of K+ conductances) and to measure the membrane capacity (as an assessment of surface area)

Candidate profile: We are searching for a candidate (ESR) who is interested (and should have some experience) in immunohistochemistry, (confocal) microscopy, and morphometry. He / she should be willing and able to collaborate with other members of our team, to acquire new research techniques and to exchange data and ideas in the project. Knowledge / experience in retina research would be welcome. The candidate should be able to speak English well enough to allow scientific communication within the team.

ER (Post Doc)
Title: Mueller (glial) cells as indicators of - and possible players in - myopia
Team: Head: Andreas Reichenbach, Prof. Dr. (Paul Flechsig Institute of Brain Research, Medical Faculty of the Universitaet Leipzig). Our team, including six postdocs and more than 10 doctoral students, is worldwide the largest group devoted to research on retinal glial (Mueller) cells. We are applying various techniques (fluorescence imaging techniques with confocal and two-photon microscopy, patch-clamp electrophysiology, cell and organ cultures, electron- and light microscopy including morphometry, etc) to elucidate the role of Mueller cells in retinal development, mature functioning, and pathology. For this purpose, we are collaborating with the eye clinic (Prof. P. Wiedemann: clinical impact of Mueller cells) and with the Institute of Experimental Physics (Prof. J. Kaes, Dr. J. Guck: Biomechanics of Mueller cells). In the present project, a possible involvement of Mueller cells in signal transmission from defocussation-sensitive amacrine cells towards the outer retina (and the subretinal structures) is to be elucidated. Furthermore, a part of the project is aimed at revealing a possible involvement of glial cell hypertrophy in the alteration of the biomechanical properties of retinal tissue, accompanying retinal detachment and disruption in high-grade axial myopia.
Methods: Both (i) the signal pathway from the amacrine cells to the Mueller cells and (ii) the signal transmission within the Mueller cells are to be explored. The latter probably involves intracellular Ca2+ waves progressing from proximal to distal process. These will be blocked by intravitreal application of Mueller cell-specific metabolic inhibitors such as -aminoadipic acid or fluorocitrate, and the development of myopia in Erg-/- mice will be compared with the development in controls. In parallel, two candidate amacrine-to-Mueller cell signal pathways will be tested. First, purinergic antagonists will be intravitreally injected to block the induction of intracellular glial Ca2+ waves by neuronal activity. Second, a hypothetical "osmotic signalling" via water transport from defocussation-sensitive amacrine cells to Mueller cells will be blocked by intravitreal injection of AQP4-silencing RNA. The following methods will be employed:

  • Use of experimental animals with myopia (Egr-/- mice); intravitreal injection of drugs
  • Bulk-labeling of normal / reactive Mueller cells by vital dyes (e.g., MitoTracker Orange ), confocal microscopic imaging
  • Visualization of intracellular Ca2+ waves in Mueller cells (in retinal slices) to study the effects of pharmacological intervention (Ca2+ Imaging).

Candidate profile: We are searching for a candidate (ER) who is experienced in confocal and/or two-photon microscopy, and in imaging techniques. Previous knowledge / experience in retina research would be highly welcome. He / she should be willing and able to collaborate with other members of our team, to acquire new research techniques and to exchange data and ideas in the project. He / she should also be able to co-ordinate his / her own work with that of the ESR in the project, and with that of the collaborating electrophysiologist and the biophysical team. The candidate should be able to speak English well to allow scientific communication within the team, and to contribute to the publication of the results

myeuropia0049 7071 2980739
European training in myopia researchfrank.schaeffel@uni-tuebingen.de