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The preterm brain: define the best model and test therapies to improve prognosis
Portugal (PorMSIC) - University of Porto, Porto
Unit of Anatomy of the Department of Biomedicine of the University of Porto
José Castro Lopes
Type of Research Project
- Basic science
What is the background of the project?
Portugal has one of the highest rates of prematurity in Europe, with 7,7% of incidence of premature births during the year 2014. Despite of advances in the knowledge about the pathophysiology of encephalopathy of prematurity, there is still insufficient understanding to delivery specifically target treatments. An important barrier is the preclinical animal models that only partially mimics abnormalities observed in humans. Moreover, there is no consensual and unique experimental model of prematurity. There are several animal species that are used as experimental models of the prematurity. In our work, we will use a recent experimental Rat model that combine hypoxic-ischemic with the inflammation/infectious lipopolysaccharide-induced injury, to better recapitulate different types, and most common, of preterm birth and brain injury.
What is the aim of the project?
Understand the potential behavioral alterations and morphological and functional changes in the brain induced by prenatal transient systemic hypoxia-ischemia (TSHI) combined with intra-amniotic lipopolysaccharide (TSHI+LPS).
What techniques and methods are used?
The project has several steps: Induction the prenatal transient systemic hypoxia-ischemia (TSHI) and intra-amniotic lipopolysaccharide (TSHI+LPS); - Analysis of animal behavior to see the psychological and social effects of the induction: - Analysis of learning and memory; - Analysis of anxiety levels; - Analysis of fear response; Immunocytochemistry and microscopy analysis to see the physical effects of the induction.
What is the role of the student?
- The student will observe the practical experiments but will be highly involved in the analysis of the results
- The tasks will be done under supervision
What are the tasks expected to be accomplished by the student?
The student is expected to be highly involved in the project, being always under supervision. The student will participate in the analysis of the animal behaviors, such as the analysis of the learning and memory, anxiety levels and fear response. The student will also participate in the analysis of brain sections, including quantification of neuronal numbers. During the internship, he will perform immunocytochemistry and microscopy analysis.
Will there be any theoretical teaching provided (preliminary readings, lectures, courses, seminars etc)
No theoretical teaching will be provided
What is expected from the student at the end of the research exchange? What will be the general outcome of the student?
- The student will prepare a poster - The student will prepare an abstract - The student’s name will be mentioned in a future publication
What skills are required of the student? Is there any special knowledge or a certain level of studies needed?
Knowledges in neuroanatomy, histology and molecular biology.
Are there any legal limitations in the student’s involvement
Type of students accepted
This project accepts: - Medical students
- Cardoso; A.; Marrana; F.; Andrade; J. P. (2016) Caloric restriction in young rats disturbs hippocampal neurogenesis and spatial learning. doi: 10.1016/j.nlm.2016.07.013
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