The lab: De Strooper group

Lab's research themes:

We investigate the basic mechanisms causing Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease starting from the genetic forms of these disorders.

Alzheimer disease: Please read "The cellular phase of Alzheimer's Disease" PMID 26871627.

We use spatial and single-cell transcriptomics and proteomics to analyze the cellular pathophysiology of Alzheimer's disease. we use human brain material, human iPS cell culture, brain organoids and human-mouse chimeric mice to understand this human-specific disorder. We identify drug targets and validate them in our humanized animal models. we follow human biomarkers secreted in the blood of the humanized mouse models we have developed.

Merits of the lab:

I have trained & hosted 40 postdoctoral researchers including several MD. They have all moved to top positions in different institutes and pharma. My group has more than 10 nationalities and is mixed with a majority of women.

We have weekly lab meetings with the whole group, we have workgroup meetings in function of the different projects and I see all my researchers for individual discussions once every two weeks. The people work in small teams, involving usually one or two postdocs and a technician, sometimes a PhD student as well. There is great intellectual freedom and I promote independence.

Why do we want medical doctors?

I am myself MD.
- Collaborations with the university hospitals in Leuven: Rik Vandenberghe (head of the memory clinic) and with Dietmar Thal (world renown neuropathologist, expert in Alzheimer's Disease)
-Collaboration with UCL: Nick Fox, Mark Busche, Jon Schott.

Country: Belgium
Supervisor: Bart De Strooper

The position

What’s the main purpose of our research?

I discuss projects at the moment of application. My work is focused on Alzheimer’s disease and neurodegeneration and my main goal is to identify pathophysiological mechanisms that can be targeted for drug development. As indicated above we use only human systems or iPSC based models to test our hypothesis and there is plenty of possibilities depending on the interest of the candidate: i.e. more basic mechanistic research with in vivo models, testing drug candidates with antisense oligonucleotide or viral gene therapies, monitoring effects using experimental biomarkers, imaging or neuropathology.

How we will do it?

We use in all our work in transgenic approaches primary cultures of neurons and biochemistry, sophisticated imaging and molecular biology to address our questions. We are also strongly committed to collaborating with the industry to generate novel drugs for these devastating disorders.

Why is this important?

The pathophysiological mechanisms identified during the research phase can become targets for novel drug development in the field of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Who is a good fit for the project?

Experience in clinical or translational research in the field of neurodegeneration. Experience or keen interest in exploring novel wet-lab technologies and in exploring databases.

Medical background or training in the field of neurodegeneration will accelerate the integration of the MD into the project.

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