PhD position open in modelling aging related diseases using induced neurons
directly reprogrammed from patient’s fibroblasts

Neurodegenerative disorders are a growing burden in our aging society. With longer life
expectancy neurodegenerative disorders will become an even more serious public health
issue influencing the active time of the elderly. Accumulating evidence are pointing at
impairments in autophagy, a lysosomal degradation pathway, as playing a critical role in the
protein build up leading to neurodegeneration. However, a clear mechanistic understanding
of how alterations in autophagy causes cellular dysfunction and death is currently lacking.

The focus of this project is to understand how alterations in autophagy contribute to the
pathophysiology of chronic incurable neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer
disease, Huntington disease and Parkinson disease. This will be achieved by using models
that have been recently developed specifically to study autophagy impairments in
neurodegenerative diseases. The model is based on direct neuronal reprogramming of
patient derived fibroblasts. This approach will allow to tackle the vulnerability of neurons to
different protein aggregate build up in a system that is not only of human origin, but also
patient specific with carrying the aging signature of the donor.

This information will be instrumental to develop novel treatment strategies for
proteinopathies, including Parkinson, Huntington and Alzheimer disease, given their shared
alteration in autophagy.

How to apply: If you are interested, please send your application to Dr. Karolina Pircs
( Please include a letter outlining your main interests and past
scientific contributions, a CV, and contact informations of 2-3 referees.