Microenvironment of Immune Cells - Marek Mráz
CEITEC MU CEITEC MU
Microenvironment of Immune Cells - Marek Mráz

PhD Topics

1. MICROENVIRONMENTAL INTERACTIONS AND REGULATION OF THEIR CROSSTALK IN MALIGNANT B-CELLS BY TRANSCRIPTION FACTORS

Supervisor: assoc. prof. Marek Mráz

PROJECT: We are looking for a motivated PhD student that would like to work on the following project  funded by the ERC (European Research Council) Starting grant. It is now understood that B-cell receptor (BCR) signaling is the key pathway deregulated during the onset of many B cell leukemias and lymphomas, and this pathway crosstalk’s with other microenvironmental interactions such as adhesion and chemokine signalling. Targettin these interactions is considered a promising target for therapy in B cell malignancies, however, the recently approved inhibitors of BCR signalling are not able to permanently control or cure B cell maliganncies. We have recently revealed for the first time that CD20, and microRNAs miR-150 and miR-155 regulate the B-cell receptor signaling (Mraz et al., Blood, 2014; Musilova et al…Mraz, Blood, 2018; Mraz and Kipps, 2013, Musilova and Mraz, Leukemia, 2015). We have performed a complex profiling of mRNAand non-coding RNAs in the context of the tumor microenvironment interactions. In our preliminary data we have identified several transcription factors that likely modulate the BCR signalling, and its crosstalk with adhesion and chemokine signalling. The PhD candidate will work on the identification of key transcription factors (TFs) and their targets that orchestrate the microenvironmental interactions and activation of malignant cells. This has potential implications for therapy since some of our candidate TFs can be targeted by novel inhibitors, which will be tested pre-clinically in vitro and in mouse models.

Literature: Seda and Mraz, EJH, 2015; Pavlasova et al, Blood, 2016; Pavlasova et al, Leukemia, 2018; Mraz et al., Blood, 2014

WHAT DO WE OFFER:

  • modern laboratories, project funded by the prestigious ERC grant = high risk and high gain, state-of-the-art instrument, stable funding, competitive scholarship
  • You will work in a team of young investigators that challenge some long standing problems in the field of hematology. We do basic science, but with the objective to help patients in the future (we have access to primary samples with hem. malignancies, and we suggest novel clinical trials).

WHAT WILL YOU LEARN/DO:

  • How to think and work independently as a scientist
  • Writing of abstracts and papers (and course in grant writing and presentation of data)
  • How to present data and will attend conferences to present your research
  • You will spend 1-2 months visit(s) in collaborating labs in Europe or US
  • Collaboration with experts in wet lab research and bioinformatics
  • Novel methods such as Next Generation Sequencing (Illumina) and genome editing (Crispr).
  • How to critically analyze scientific data (regular journal clubs)
  • Classical methods of molecular biology (e.g. immunoblotting, flow cytometry, qRT-PCR, cell cultures, cloning), and you will use our in vitro models for microenvironmental interactions, and artificial activation/inhibition signalling pathways to decipher the gene regulatory loops.
  • You can supervise bachelor and diploma students if interested

WHO ARE WE LOOKING FOR:

  • Motivated smart people that have the “drive” to work independently, but also willing to learn from other people in the lab and collaborate.
  • Candidates should have a master’s degree in Molecular biology, Biochemistry, or similar field and have deep interest in molecular biology and cancer cell biology.

HOW TO APPLY:

  • To apply please contact the supervisor and submit a CV by email to: marek.mraz@email.cz and phd@ceitec.muni.cz (Subject: PhD School).
  • Information about the laboratory at: ceitec.cz/mrazlab

OTHER INFO: The research is funded by ERC grant, and will be conducted at CEITEC MASARYK UNIVERSITY (campus Bohunice). Our laboratory extensively collaborates with the University Hospital Brno in the same campus to obtain primary samples from patients. The campus provides a vibrant, multidisciplinary and highly collaborative scientific environment. The lab is located in Brno, the second-largest city in Czech Republic that has the biggest concentration of biomedical research in the region. Brno is one of the major cultural hubs, with a vibrant and lively atmosphere housing ~60.000 students. The city has a very good public transport and plenty of interesting places to visit within the reach of trains (within small distance of several major cities such as Prague, Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest) and close to international airports.

Keywords: BCR signalling, leukemia, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, adhesion, B cells, chemokine signalling, transcription factors

 

2. Regulation of BCR signalling by DNA damage response and P53 protein

 

Supervisor: assoc. prof. Marek Mráz

PROJECT: We are looking for a motivated PhD student that would like to work on the following project funded by the ERC (European Research Council) Starting grant. The variable clinical course of several B cell malignancies largely depends on p53 functionality and B-cell receptor (BCR) signalling propensity; however, it is unclear if there is any crosstalk between these pathways. We showed for the first time that there is a connection between p53 pathway and regulation of BCR signalling (Cerna et al…Mraz, Leukemia, 2018). We described that DNA damage response (DDR) activation leads to down-modulating the transcriptional factor FOXP1, which functions as a positive BCR signalling. It seems that the low FOXP1 levels limit BCR signalling partially via allowing for upregulation of a CD22 cell-surface, whose intracellular part serves as a docking site for phosphatases that limit BCR activation on the cell membrane. The student will further explore the connection between DNA damage response and the BCR signalling regulation. Additionally, the p53 aberration could also affect the basal levels of CD22/phosphatases, and thus contribute to the “tonic” BCR signalling, and general aggressiveness of the B cells. In vitro studies using Crispr technology and inducible shRNAs for p53 will be conducted. Additionally, we have collected over 100 samples obtained during the administration of chemo-immuno therapy in B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) patients, and these can be used to validate the in vitro observations.

WHAT DO WE OFFER:

  • Modern laboratories, project funded by the prestigious ERC grant = high risk and high gain, state-of-the-art instrument, stable funding, competitive scholarship
  • You will work in a team of young investigators that challenge some long standing problems in the field of hematology. We do basic science, but with the objective to help patients in the future (we have access to primary samples with hem. malignancies, and we suggest novel clinical trials).

WHAT WILL YOU LEARN/DO:

  • How to think and work independently as a scientist
  • Writing of abstracts and papers (and course in grant writing and presentation of data)
  • How to present data and will attend conferences to present your research
  • You will spend 1-2 months visit(s) in collaborating labs in Europe or US
  • Collaboration with experts in wet lab research and bioinformatics
  • Novel methods such as Next Generation Sequencing (Illumina) and genome editing (Crispr).
  • How to critically analyze scientific data (regular journal clubs)
  • Classical methods of molecular biology (e.g. immunoblotting, flow cytometry, qRT-PCR, cell cultures, cloning), and you will use our in vitro models for microenvironmental interactions, and artificial activation/inhibition signalling pathways to decipher the gene regulatory loops.
  • You can supervise bachelor and diploma students if interested

WHO ARE WE LOOKING FOR:

  • Motivated smart people that have the “drive” to work independently, but also willing to learn from other people in the lab and collaborate.
  • Candidates should have a master’s degree in Molecular biology, Biochemistry, or similar field and have deep interest in molecular biology and cancer cell biology.

HOW TO APPLY:

  • To apply please contact the supervisor and submit a CV by email to: marek.mraz@email.cz and phd@ceitec.muni.cz (Subject: PhD School).
  • Information about the laboratory at: ceitec.cz/mrazlab

OTHER INFO: The research is funded by ERC grant, and will be conducted at CEITEC MASARYK UNIVERSITY (campus Bohunice). Our laboratory extensively collaborates with the University Hospital Brno in the same campus to obtain primary samples from patients. The campus provides a vibrant, multidisciplinary and highly collaborative scientific environment. The lab is located in Brno, the second-largest city in Czech Republic that has the biggest concentration of biomedical research in the region. Brno is one of the major cultural hubs, with a vibrant and lively atmosphere housing ~60.000 students. The city has a very good public transport and plenty of interesting places to visit within the reach of trains (within small distance of several major cities such as Prague, Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest) and close to international airports.

Keywords: B-cell receptor, BCR signaling inhibitors, DDR, FOXP1, CD22, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, CLL, NGS technology, genome editing