Understanding how actin network remodeling drives neural tube formation in the developing embryo

This Earmarked Scholarship project is aligned with a recently awarded Category 1 research grant. It offers you the opportunity to work with leading researchers and contribute to large projects of national significance.

Supervisor – Dr Mel Whitemelanie.white@imb.uq.edu.au

The brain and the spinal cord arise from a common precursor, the neural tube, formed very early in embryonic development. Changes in cellular architecture must be tightly coordinated in space and time to generate the forces that sculpt and shape the neural tube. Failure of the neural tube to form correctly results in some of the most common and severe birth defects.

The morphological changes that shape the neural tube are driven by remodeling of the actin cytoskeleton but the dynamics of this process are poorly understood due to a lack of live imaging.

This project will use quantitative live imaging approaches to study how the actin network is remodeled in real time during neural tube morphogenesis and which are the key molecules regulating this. Neural tube development will be studied using transgenic avian embryos with opportunities to complement the work using zebrafish and human iPS cell models. 

This is an opportunity to join the newly established Dynamics of Morphogenesis lab at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB). You will have access to a fantastic range of infrastructure including one of the largest and most comprehensively equipped imaging facilities in Australia. The lab values an open, supportive and collaborative environment in which to pursue your scientific excellence. As one of the founding members of the lab, you will have the chance to influence lab culture and the flexibility to tailor your research to suit your interests. To take full advantage of this you will need to be passionate about science, driven to succeed and ready to use your initiative.

Skills in molecular, cell and developmental biology, live imaging or biophysics would be of benefit but enthusiasm and initiative is of most importance.

Preferred educational background

Applications will be judged on a competitive basis taking into account the applicant's previous academic record, publication record, honours and awards, and employment history.

A working knowledge of developmental biology techniques or quantitative imaging would be of benefit to someone working on this project.

The applicant will demonstrate academic achievement in the field(s) of molecular or cell and developmental biology and the potential for scholastic success.

A background or knowledge of mechanobiology is highly desirable.

*The successful candidate must commence by Research Quarter 1, 2023. You should apply at least 3 months prior to the research quarter commencement date. International applicants may need to apply much earlier for visa reasons.

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