Investigations of changes in neurotransmitter receptors and plasticity-related proteins in an animal model of psychosis
Germany (bvmd) - Ruhr-Universitaet, Bochum
Ruhr University Bochum Department of Neurophysiology, Universitaetsstr. 150, MA4/150, 4478
Prof Dr. Denise Manahan-Vaughan
Prof Dr. Denise Manahan-Vaughan (
English, German
4 weeks
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Type of Research Project
- Basic science
What is the background of the project?
Synaptic plasticity is a cellular process through which neuronal communication becomes altered such that information can be stored at the synapse level. It is the core mechanism that underlies short-and long-term memory in the brain. Memory structures such as the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex are profoundly compromised in psychosis and schizophrenia. Little is known about the mechanisms that underlie the origin and progress of these disorders. For this reason, treatment of psychosis/schizophrenia has not significantly advanced since the 1950s. In this project we will explore how neurotransmitter receptors and plasticity-related proteins that are essential for synaptic plasticity become altered in an animal model of psychosis.
We will explore on the one hand which proteins may contribute to the pathological progress of the disease, and whether target proteins might have the potential to serve as biomarkers for the prodromal state, or as a disease predictor.
Western blotting, and depending on the duration of research stay of the candidate, immunohistochemical and/or catFISH (cellular compartment analysis of temporal activity by fluorescence in situ hybridization) methods will be used in the MK801-animal model of psychosis will be implemented (Wiescolleck and Manahan-Vaughan, 2013, Neuropharmacology, 74:48). We will explore changes in receptor/protein expression in the early phase of disease development, with a particular fcus on changes in the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex.
Prof. Dr. Manahan-Vaughan is Dean of Studies of the International Graduate School of Neuroscience ( this is an internationally renowned graduate school of neuroscience that educates talented young scientists from around the world, to the level of PhD in Neuroscience. Within the IGSN as special curriculum and educational programme is included for medical doctorate (MD) students that engage in research (to obtain an MD) during their medical degree studies. Monthly international symposia, methodological courses, advanced lectures and journal clubs are a standard part of the curriculum (that is conducted in the English language) and, at which the IFMSA researcher will be welcome to participate.
What is the aim of the project?
What techniques and methods are used?
What is the role of the student?
What are the tasks expected to be accomplished by the student?
Will there be any theoretical teaching provided (preliminary readings, lectures, courses, seminars etc)
What is expected from the student at the end of the research exchange? What will be the general outcome of the student?
What skills are required of the student? Is there any special knowledge or a certain level of studies needed?
Requirements are: Fluent spoken and written english Interest in, and willingness to, work with research animals. Very good basic understanding of the neurophysiological and biochemical basis of cognition and memory formation in the brain. Have completed the first 4 semesters (2 years) of their medical degree studies For more Information: Kemp A, Manahan-Vaughan D (2007) Hippocampal long-term depression: master or minion of declarative memory processes. Trends Neurosci. 30: 111-118. Wiescholleck V, Manahan-Vaughan D (2013) Long-lasting changes in hippocampal synaptic plasticity and cognition in an animal model of NMDA receptor dysfunction in psychosis. Neuropharmacology. 74:48-58 Wiescholleck V, Manahan-Vaughan D (2013) Persistent deficits in hippocampal synaptic plasticity accompany losses of hippocampus-dependent memory in a rodent model of psychosis Frontiers Integ. Neurosci. 7:12.
Are there any legal limitations in the student’s involvement

Type of students accepted
This project accepts:
- Medical students
- Pre-Medical students from the American-British system
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