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Role of immune molecules in brain development: the contribution of cytokines in synapse formation
Italy (SISM) - Humanitas University, Milano
Dr. Davide Pozzi - firstname.lastname@example.org
Type of Research Project
- Basic science
What is the background of the project?
Brain development follows a precise developmental program which ensures the establishment of a correct cellular and network system during adulthood. This developmental program might be influenced by several molecules which are released during both physiological and pathological states, including inflammation. Recently, epidemiological evidence suggests a clear link between an immunological challenge during pregnancy, also called Maternal Immune Activation (MIA), and deleterious effects on fetus’s brain development, which could be associated to pathological conditions such as Autism Spectrum Disorders and Schizophrenia. This data indicate that inflammation is associated with an altered neuronal development.
What is the aim of the project?
The aim of the project is to study how the immune molecules produced during inflammation might affect brain development leading to cognitive impairment.
What techniques and methods are used?
We will use a multidisciplinary approach based on different experimental techniques ranging from biochemical, morphological and functional analysis. In particular, western blot and immunofluorescence analysis will be performed to investigate if and how the immune molecules may affect the expression of specific synaptic proteins. These approaches will be applied to both in vitro and in vivo models, depending on the stage of the research project.
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
What are the tasks expected to be accomplished by the student?
The student will be trained to use laboratory equipments autonomously and in a rigorous way within the context of the project. In particular the student will learn how to prepare the sample which will be subsequently analyzed through western blot or immunofluorescence analysis. To this aim, he/she will become independent in the preparation of all the reagents and the equipment required for the techniques. The data will be acquired and subsequently analyzed using specific software for image acquisition and statistical analysis.
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?
- No specific outcome is expected
What skills are required of the student? Is there any special knowledge or a certain level of studies needed?
The student should know the basic techniques required to work in a lab, including using a pipette, basic laboratory safety rules and how to use a light microscope. Moreover, the student should be passionate, motivated, with a specific interested to the field of Neuroscience.
Are there any legal limitations in the student’s involvement
Type of students accepted
This project accepts: - Medical students - Graduated students (less than 6 months) - Pre-Medical students from the American-British system
- Estes ML; McAllister AK (2016) Maternal immune activation: Implications for neuropsychiatric disorders. Science 353: 772-777
- Pozzi D; Menna E; Canzi A; Desiato G; Mantovani C; Matteoli M (2018) The Communication Between the Immune and Nervous Systems: The Role of IL-1beta in Synaptopathies. Frontiers in molecular neuroscience 11: 111
- Tomasoni R; Morini R; Lopez-Atalaya JP; Corradini I; Canzi A; Rasile M; Mantovani C; Pozzi D; Garlanda C; Mantovani A; Menna E; Barco A; Matteoli M (2017) Lack of IL-1R8 in neurons causes hyperactivation of IL-1 receptor pathway and induces MECP2-dependent synaptic defects. eLife 6
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