Vacancies and career opportunities

Marita Feldkaemper // Job description:

ESR (1 X PhD Students) (36 months)
Aim: Recent studies in chicks have shown that glucagon itself, a rare transmitter in the retina, may act as a stop signal for eye growth. Moreover, we and others could previously show that the amount of Transforming growth factor-beta2 mRNA is up-regulated in the sclera of hyperopic eyes and lower in myopic eyes suggesting a role of TGFbeta-2 in the final steps of visual eye growth regulation in chicks. The role of glucagon and TGF-beta2 on emmetropization in a mammalian model (mouse) is still unclear and shall be investigated in this study. If other interesting candidates come up (from the QTL mapping studies of our partners and from the microarray studies) their role on eye growth shall also be studied. Methods: Pharmacological studies will be performed using different concentrations of glucagon, glucagon agonists and other candidate drugs applied daily as eye drops. Axial length and refraction will be measured with normal vision and under conditions that cause myopia using low-coherence interferometry and photoretinoscopy with. The cellular localization and regulation of the glucagon receptor in the mouse retina will be studied by in situ hybridization studies and immunohistochemistry. The influence of lens and diffuser treatment on scleral TGF-beta2 mRNA levels will be measured using real-time PCR. Candidate profile: The candidate should have a background in research in animal physiology and visual neurobiology and must be interested in working with animal models. Knowledge in molecular biology methods would be of advantage but could also be learned. Biologist would be most appropriate.

ER (Post Doc) (18 months)
Aim: Myopic defocus imposed to the periphery of the visual field is believed to inhibit the progression of myopia. However, it is not know how such defocus would affect visually guided behaviour, accommodation and visual performance. The aim of the research is to find out how monocular and binocular peripheral defocus changes these variables in young human subjects. Always when eye growth is inhibited by a positive lens, the transcription factor ZENK is consistently and rapidly up-regulated in glucagon amacrine cells in chicks. We want to find out whether ZENK/Egr-1 represents indeed an inhibitory signal for axial eye growth also in mammals (mice) and which genes are controlled by this transcription factor in vivo. Methods: Accommodation measurements and gaze tracking in humans will be done using customized photorefractors and gaze trackers in the lab. Contrast sensitivity, contrast adaptation and visual acuity in the periphery with defined amounts of defocus will be measured by psychophysical procedures. The influence of different periods of deprivation on axial length and refraction in wildtype mice, homozygous Egr-1-/- and heterozygous Egr-1+/ knock-out mice shall be measured using low-coherence interferometry and photoretionscopy, respectively. Messenger RNA shall be extracted from knockout animals and wildtype mice and hybridized to Affymetrix GeneChip Mouse Genome 430 arrays. Differential gene expression shall be confirmed by real-time PCR. Candidate profile: The candidate should have a background in human visual physiology and physiological optics and must have previous research experience, as documented by publications. Interest in computer programming, bioinformatics and new methods of molecular biology would be advantageous, but training can be offered. Either biologists or visual psychophysicists would be appropriate.

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European training in myopia