Gastrointestinal manifestations in systemic sclerosis
Switzerland (Swimsa) - University of Zurich, Zurich
Prof. Dr. med. Oliver Distler
PD Dr. Gabriela Kania
English requiered, English and German accepted
4 weeks
Cities/Months Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Augt Sep Oct Nov Dec
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes No No
Type of Research Project
- Basic science
What is the background of the project?
Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is a complex autoimmune fibrotic disease characterized by vascular changes, skin and visceral organ dysfunctions. The mechanisms of multiorgan manifestations in SSc patients are poorly understood but with poor prognosis. Gastrointestinal tract (GIT) manifestations of SSc are the most commonly encountered complications of the disease affecting nearly 90% of the SSc patients. A majority of the symptoms are caused by GIT dysmotility. GIT involvement may lead to several comorbidities, as malnutrition or negative alterations of body composition, which can increase the mortality and definitely negatively impacts the quality of life. The pathogenesis of GIT involvement in SSc is still not fully understood. A better understanding of the mechanisms leading to GIT manifestations certainly requires the input from the SSc animal models to set the basis for the development of new and effective therapies.
What is the aim of the project?
The aim of this project is to study the mechanisms responsible for the GIT manifestations in Systemic sclerosis with the focus on the cells composition, kinetic of inflammation and activation of stromal cell compartment.
What techniques and methods are used?
Proposed methods: - Primary cell isolation (i..e. fibroblast, macrophages) will be conducted, supported by - Magnetic cell sorting. Subsequently - cell culture - Immunofluorescence/Immunohistochemistry (technique where, using a light microscope, specific antibodies combined with fluorescent dyes are used to target specific biomolecules) - Western Blot and ELISA (gathering material from cells and tagging with primary and secondary antibodies) - quantitatve Polymerase Chain Reaction ((primer and DNA of interest addition, PCR machine fine tuning and subsequent cycling) and - luciferase assay (a light assay where the intensity of signal in a well is measured when exited with light) Will be performed to analyse the cells of interest.
What is the role of the student?
- The tasks of the student will be performed on his/her own
- The tasks will be done under supervision
What are the tasks expected to be accomplished by the student?
The student is supposed to: - acquire the theoretical knowledge from the proposed topic - be familiar with the methods (theory and practice), which will be used in this project - perform planned experiments (with the help of tutor and lab members) - analyze the results (with the help of tutor) - prepare the final report after completing this project
Will there be any theoretical teaching provided (preliminary readings, lectures, courses, seminars etc)
We will provide the theoretical introduction to each method, which will be used during this project and also general introduction to the biosafety, SSc, mechanism of fibrogenesis, and animal models of SSc. We provide weekly seminars organized for the Center of Experimental Rheumatology, Department of Rheumatology (progress reports, journal clubs and presentations from the invited speakers).
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 presentation
- The student will prepare a scientific report
What skills are required of the student? Is there any special knowledge or a certain level of studies needed?
Motivation to: - work in the lab within the team - gather the knowledge - perform the experiments in the lab
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)
- Students in biomedical fields
- 1. Allanore Y; Simms R; Distler O; Trojanowska M; Pope J; Denton CP; Varga J. Systemic sclerosis. Nat Rev Dis Primers. 2015 Apr 23;1:15002.
- 2. Kania G; Rudnik M; Distler O. Involvement of the myeloid cell compartment in fibrogenesis and systemic sclerosis. Nat Rev Rheumatol. 2019 May;15(5):288-302.