How does the brain remove the excess number of neurons during development and aging

Research Opportunity
PhD, Masters by Research, Honours, Master of Biomedical Science, Post Doctor Research
Number of Honour Places Available
Number of Master Places Available
Medicine and Radiology
Florey Institute of Neuroscience & Mental Health
Primary Supervisor Email Number Webpage
Dr. Ben Gu +61390356317 Personal web page
Co-supervisor Email Number Webpage
Prof. James Wiley +61383446386 Personal web page

Summary This project will focus on the recognition mechanisms for apoptotic cells to be recognized and captured by phagocytes.

Project Details

Many more neurons are produced during development than are present in the adult brain. Also many neurons are lost during aging, however the process of innate phagocytosis, which removes unwanted and superfluous neurons is poorly defined. The unwanted neurones enter apoptosis but subsequent clearance of these dying cells is important for our body to avoid autoimmunity or inflammation in the brain. Apoptotic cells express unique markers which enable them to be recognized and engulfed by phagocytes. The knowledge of these unique markers is limited at present to certain cell membrane lipids, e.g. phosphatidylserine. Recent novel finding from our laboratory suggests that a unique protein epitope is expressed early in apoptosis and this is recognized by P2X7 receptors on phagocytes. This project will examine how apoptotic cells are recognized and cleared by phagocytes both in health and in disease. This result will have relevance to many neurological diseases as well as early neurodevelopment.

Techniques involved are cell culture, immunoprecipitation, western blotting, flow cytometry, peptide screen, molecular biology and mass spectrometry.

Faculty Research Themes

Neuroscience, Infection and Immunology

School Research Themes

Neuroscience & Psychiatry, Ageing

Research Opportunities

PhD, Masters by Research, Honours, Master of Biomedical Science, Post Doctor Research
Students who are interested in joining this project will need to consider their elegibility as well as other requirements before contacting the supervisor of this research

Graduate Research application

Honours application

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact a supervisor.


Medicine and Radiology

Research Node

Florey Institute of Neuroscience & Mental Health

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