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Postdoctoral Fellow - Neuronal Cell Biology and Imaging



The Department of Anatomy is one of the largest and longest-established departments at the University of Otago. Our staff teach and research a diverse range of exciting topics in the field of biomedical sciences, including neuroscience and cell biology.

The Role

We are looking to appoint an enthusiastic and self-motivated Post-Doctoral Fellow that will work in a research group, led by Dr Laura Gumy, that combines state-of-the-art neuronal cell biology and high-resolution live cell imaging to understand mechanisms of cellular trafficking within neurons. Specifically, the applicant will work on a project titled 'Mechanisms regulating long-range intracellular transport in neurons'. The project is funded by the Marsden Fund, Royal Society of New Zealand.

The long-term aims of the Gumy Laboratory are to devise new strategies to promote neural repair in diseased/injured neurons by combining investigations into cytoskeletal dynamics and transport mechanisms at the molecular, cellular and animal level. We uniquely combine cell biology techniques with high-resolution live imaging, quantitative image analysis and biochemical methods. To achieve our research goals we recently acquired brand new spinning disk confocal and TIRF microscopes and are in the process of further expanding our imaging capability.

Our work has shown how the regrowth of neuronal axons depends on the interplay between the local translation of mRNAs, the remodelling of the microtubule cytoskeleton and the selective transport of molecules and organelles. We recently elucidated the molecular mechanism that enables the sorting and long-range transport of secretory vesicles into axons, that is necessary for their growth (Gumy et al., 2017; Neuron). This mechanism, which is based on the regulation of transport by a microtubule associated protein (MAP2), provides the first evidence for the existence of this type of trafficking compartment in neurons. Given the ubiquitous presence of many microtubule associated proteins in axons, we are fundamentally interested in understanding their role in directing specific transport routes. Findings from this work will contribute to the identification of new therapeutic targets for treatment of a wide-range of disorders associated with cytoskeletal and/or intracellular trafficking defects.

Duties will include:

• Experimental design and laboratory research.
• Analysis of data.
• Writing manuscripts reporting on research results for publication in peer-reviewed journals.
• Presenting findings at scientific meetings.
• Assisting in writing grant applications and pursuing funding opportunities.
• Assisting with writing progress reports to the funding organisation.
• Assisting in the supervision of research students.

Your Skills and Experience

• PhD degree in Cell Biology/Neurobiology/Biochemistry/Biophysics or a related area and may have had previous postdoctoral experience.
• Experience in laboratory Cell Biology/Neurobiology/Imaging/Biochemistry techniques.
• Experience in preparation of primary neuron cultures is desirable but not essential.
• Experience in immunocytochemistry and tissue culture.
• Experience in live cell imaging techniques.
• Experience in DNA cloning, Western blotting, immunoprecipitation, CRISPR gene editing are desirable.
• Experience in image analysis is desirable.
• Track record of publication in international peer-reviewed journals.
• A thorough approach to laboratory practice, accurate record-keeping, attention to detail and compliance with all regulatory requirements.
• Ability to work cooperatively with a wide variety of people within a research environment.
• Ability to work independently, without direct supervision, set priorities and allocate own timetable.
• Enthusiastic and self-motivated, and committed to a research career in the biological sciences.

Further details

This is a full-time, fixed-term position for 36 months and is available from 1 March 2019.

Applications quoting reference number 1900186 will close on Thursday, 14 March 2019.


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