How do microglia shape normal and pathological circuit function?
Microglia are dynamic, macrophage-like cells within the CNS. They remove cellular debris and pathogens from surrounding tissue and exert powerful neuroprotective and/or neurotoxic effects during disease and injury. They can also modulate neuronal membrane properties and synapses, positioning these cells as key contributors to physiological and pathological circuit function. Microglia are not equivalent throughout the brain and exhibit specialized phenotypes in different nuclei of the basal ganglia (BG), circuits involved in reward and motivation. We exploit these regionally specialized phenotypes to study how microglial variation shapes synaptic function, resilience, and viability of BG neurons. We also exploit this regional specialization of microglia to identify cues that regulate basal microglial phenotypes to discover novel strategies for manipulating microglial properties. Visit debiaselab.org for more information.
We are hiring highly motivated PhD neuroscientists or cellular biologists to study dynamic features of microglial cells and how such properties impact neuronal and circuit function. We are located in the newly renovated UCLA CHS South Tower on the Neuroscience Theme Floor together with the DeNardo, Buonomano, Golshani, Hong, and Portera-Cailliau labs providing a highly interactive and state-of-the-art research environment.
We seek candidates with a strong background in confocal or multiphoton imaging. We also welcome candidates who excel in one of the following areas: slice electrophysiology, molecular biology, next generation sequencing, organotypic slice culture, dissociated cell culture and viral transfection. PhD must be expected within 6-9 months.
Internal Number: 10-2019
Lindsay M. De Biase, PhD is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physiology in the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. She received her B.S in Cellular, Molecular, and Developmental Biology at Yale University in 2003. Upon graduation, she worked as a research assistant with Drs. Eric Hoffman and Robert Frieshtat at the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington D.C. investigating gene expression changes associated with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease) and acute lung injury. Dr. De Biase then entered the Neuroscience Graduate Program at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine where she earned her Ph.D. working with Dr. Dwight Bergles on synaptic signaling from neurons to oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs). During her thesis work, Dr. De Biase developed novel approaches for electrophysiological analysis of neuron-OPC synapses and discovered that OPC synaptic connectivity varies across brain regions and is rapidly lost as the cells mature into oligodendrocytes, consistent with the hypothesis that this signaling acts as a brake on OPC differentiation. Dr. De Biase then completed postdoctoral training with Dr. Antonello Bonci at the National Institute ...on Drug Abuse, where she discovered that microglia in distinct basal ganglia nuclei exhibit regionally-specialized phenotypes, overturning the widespread belief that these cells are equivalent throughout the CNS. Her work also provided evidence that local regulatory cues play a critical role in shaping microglial diversity. She joined UCLA's faculty in the fall of 2018.