Open position: Postdoctoral fellow in Neuroscience

UPDATE 2016-04-11: The position has been filled. 

As part of a University-wide initiative on mechanisms of neuronal and synaptic injury in aging and neurodegenerative diseases, we are seeking talented and enthusiastic individuals to join our laboratory.

Carlos Ibanez is Professor at the Department of Physiology, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National Univeristy of Singapore, and Department of Neuroscience, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.

Under the direction of Prof. Carlos Ibanez, this project will focus on studies of the role of neurotrophin signaling in neurodegenerative diseases, with afocus on Alzheimer’s disease and dementias. This is an exciting opportunity for individuals who have received a doctoral degree within the past five years and with a strong background in cellular neurobiology. Other requirements include i) experience on mouse models, i i) experience in neurohistological methods, and iii) ability to work independently with precision and good organizational skills. Located on the Medical School campus of the National University of Singapore, there is close integration among the core laboratories of this strategic initiative. This provides for an exciting environment to pursue neuroscience research and a great opportunity in one of the most developed and exciting countries in the region.

Applications including CV and names plus email addresses of three referees should be sent by email  to Prof. Carlos Ibanez .

Deadline: MARCH 31, 2016

New review article published: Biology of GDNF and its receptors — Relevance for disorders of the central nervous system

A targeted effort to identify novel neurotrophic factors for midbrain dopaminergic neurons resulted in the isolation of GDNF (glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor) from the supernatant of a rat glial cell line in 1993. Over two decades and 1200 papers later, the GDNF ligand family and their different receptor systems are now recognized as one of the major neurotrophic networks in the nervous system, important for the devel- opment, maintenance and function of a variety of neurons and glial cells. The many ways in which the four mem- bers of the GDNF ligand family can signal and function allow these factors to take part in the control of multiple types of processes, from neuronal survival to axon guidance and synapse formation in the developing nervous system, to synaptic function and regenerative responses in the adult. In this review, recently published in Neurobiology Of Disease, basic aspects of GDNF signaling mechanisms and receptor systems are first summarized followed by a review of current knowledge on the physiology of GDNF activities in the central nervous system, with an eye to its relevance for neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric diseases. Read the full paper HERE.

NMRC award to Carlos Ibanez Lab for metabolism work

The National Medical Research Council of Singapore has awarded a Collaborative Basic Research Grant (CBRG) to Carlos Ibanez for investigations into novel pathways controlling metabolic functions in adipose tissue. The award includes collaborative projects with Han Weiping, from the Singapore Bioimaging Consortium at ASTAR, Neerja Karnani, from the Singapore Institue for Clinical Sciences, and Asim Shabbir, from the National University Hospital of Singapore.

NUS, UCL, KI Neuroscience Workshop 2016

The NUS/UCL/KI Neuroscience Workshop 2016 is a 2-day symposium and workshop organised by NUS during 25-26 January featuring neuroscientists from two major NUS partner universities, University College London and Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, as well as local speakers from NUS, Duke-NUS, A*STAR, NNI and NTU.

For more information and registration please visit the Workshop website.

New paper describes first structures of protein complexes of the p75NTR death domain

Our latest paper describes new NMR structures of the death domain in complex with downstream interactions RhoGDI and RIP2 as well as the death domain dimer. These are the first structural insights into p75NTR signaling and reveal many surprises for the death domain superfamily. The paper is now available online at eLife

Death domains (DDs) mediate assembly of oligomeric complexes for activation of downstream signaling pathways through incompletely understood mechanisms. We report structures of complexes formed by the DD of p75 neurotrophin receptor (p75NTR) with RhoGDI, for activation of the RhoA pathway, with caspase recruitment domain (CARD) of RIP2 kinase, for activation of the NF-kB pathway, and with itself, revealing how DD dimerization controls access of intracellular effectors to the receptor. RIP2 CARD and RhoGDI bind to p75NTR DD at partially overlapping epitopes with over 100-fold difference in affinity, revealing the mechanism by which RIP2 recruitment displaces RhoGDI upon ligand binding. The p75NTR DD forms non-covalent, low-affinity symmetric dimers in solution. The dimer interface overlaps with RIP2 CARD but not RhoGDI binding sites, supporting a model of receptor activation triggered by separation of DDs. These structures reveal how competitive protein-protein interactions orchestrate the hierarchical activation of downstream pathways in non-catalytic receptors.

Senior Research Fellow Lin Zhi takes up group leader position at Tianjin University

Senior RF Lin Zhi, NMR wizard and first lab member to be hired at our NUS lab, moves on to initiate his independent career after successful postdoc period at the lab. Lin Zhi will be group leader at Tianjin University in China. He remains a Visiting Research Fellow of our Department and we look forward to continued collaborations with him. All the best for you Lin Zhi!

New Research Assistant joins NUS group

Eunice Sim holds a Bachelor in Science from the University of Western Australia. Until recently, she worked as Senior Laboratory Officer at the Advanced Molecular Pathology Laboratory of the Institute of Molecular & Cell Biology, A*STAR, Singapore. Eunice joins the NUS group to assist with various technical tasks, including mouse genotyping and histological analyses.

Two new Research Fellows join NUS group

Ee-Soo Lee obtained a PhD from the University of Groningen, The Netherlands, under the direction of Prof. Martin Harmsen. Her doctoral studies were based on investigations of the interplay between TGF-β and fluid shear stress in regulation of endothelial cell phenotype and functions, in the context of oxidative stress and cellular senescence. Ee-Soo is joining our nascent metabolism team to focus on studies at at understanding the signaling mechanisms by which teh action receptor ALK7 regulates catecholamine sensitivity in adipocytes.

Chang Liu defended her thesis at the University of Sydney, Australia, under the direction of Prof. Jürgen Götz. Her doctoral studies were aimed towards addressing  the distribution and physiological function of tau isoforms using tau isoform-specific monoclonal antibodies. Liu is joining our NUS group to lead a new line of research aimed towards the elucidation of the roles of neurotrophin signaling in cerebrovascular disease, focusing on their actions on cellular elements of the brain microvasculature under normal conditions and following cerebrovascular damage and AD-related neurodegeneration.

Research Assistant/Associate position open

Research Assistant/Associate is currently being recruited to our laboratory in the Centre for Life Sciences, NUS campus. The successful candidate will be a dynamic, service-minded person, with a solid research background in molecular biology, tissue culture, histological techniques and/or mouse genetics methods. He/she will have a strong presence in the laboratory by assisting the group by with experimental lab routines, including maintenance of mouse colonies, genotyping, molecular biology and cell culture experiments, as well as conducting research together with other lab members or independently.

Work at the laboratory focuses on understanding the functions and signaling mechanisms of neuronal growth factors and their receptors in neural development, injury responses and metabolic regulation, for the development of better therapies to diseases of the nervous system and metabolism.

Applications including CV  and names plus email addresses of three referees should be sent by email before August 20 to Prof. Carlos Ibanez .

UPDATE (09/2015): this position has been filled.

New Senior Research Fellow joins NUS group to launch metabolism programme

Raj Kamal Srivastava obtained his PhD in 2008 at the Department of Zoology, Faculty of Science in Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India. He did postdoctoral studies at the Institute for Physiological Chemistry and Pathobiochemistry, Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, Germany. His studied the role of central and peripheral CB1 receptor in obesity and behavioral disorder using transgenic mouse lines deleted for CB1 receptor in adrenergic and noradrenergic neurons, CamK2a expressing neurons, and adipocytes. CB1 receptor deletion from adipocytes revealed a significant role of the brain-sensory-adipocyte axis in obesity. The data highlight the role of CB1 receptor in sympathetic activity, food intake and stress induced obesity. At the NUS lab, Raj will lead studies on the roles of activin receptors ALK4 and ALK7 in adipogeneiss, adipose tissue homeostasis and obesity.

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Death Domain Signaling by Disulfide-Linked Dimers of the p75 Neurotrophin Receptor Mediates Neuronal Death in the CNS

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