Home institution: Foundation for Research and Technology Hellas – Greece (24 months)

Host institution: Verona University – Italy (10 months)

PhD Enrolment #1: Verona University – Italy 

PhD Enrolment #2: Lisbon University – Portugal

Supervisor #1: Nektarios Tavernarakis

Supervisor #2: Gabriela Constantin

Intersectoral Secondment: Nostrum Biodiscovery – Spain

Objectives: The research group of Neurogenetics and Aging of IMBB at FoRTH (P.I.: Prof. N. Tavernarakis) under the HORIZON-MSCA-2021-DN-01 call, entitled “Targeting Circadian Clock Dysfunction in Alzheimer’s Disease” (GA101072895), Acronym: TClock4AD, is looking to appoint a Marie Curie Research Fellow within a fixed term project entitled “Circadian control of mitochondria-specific autophagy in neuronal degeneration associated with AD”.

The doctoral candidate will work for two years in Greece (Foundation for Research and Technology Hellas) and for 10 months in Italy (Verona University) and will be involved in a 2-month secondment to a Spanish company (Nostrum Biodiscovery).

Mitochondrial dysfunction and reduced efficacy of mitochondrial quality control mechanisms are hallmarks of ageing and several human pathologies, including age-associated neurodegenerative disorders. We aim to elucidate the role of CC in modulating mitophagy and metabolic functions in AD. Our research plan involves four specific scientific objectives: i) Generation of transgenic C. elegans strains expressing mitophagy reporters in specific neuronal types; ii) monitoring mitochondrial turnover at defined time points during life in animal AD models, i.e., transgenic nematodes expressing Aβ or tau in nematode neurons. iii) Chemical screening for modifiers of neuronal mitophagy and susceptibility to age-associated neurodegeneration. iv) Assessment of the influence of genetic pathways and interventions known to affect C. elegans ageing on neuronal mitophagy and neurodegeneration in nematode models of AD.

Expected outcomes: The successful fellow is expected to generate breakthrough ideas in the assigned area of research, as well as to carry out research in line with the project plan. This DC will work closely with isbon University (FFUL), University of Verona (UNIVR) and Nostrum Biodiscovery (NBD).