Oxidative stress cues in thyroid gland organogenesis

Supervisor: Dr. Sabine Costagliola

Tissue homeostasis is perturbed by stressful events, leading to organ dysfunction and failure. This is particularly true for oxidative stress, where excessive oxidative stress leads to DNA damage and cell death. Paradoxically, low levels of oxidative stress play a critical role in cellular homeostasis. Could acute stress be beneficial for the organ? Does “something that doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” apply to cellular context? Specifically, the PhD candidate will investigate the less known but critical impact of oxidative stress towards organogenesis.

For this, the candidate will utilise the expertise of the host group in live-imaging and genetic manipulation of the zebrafish thyroid gland and mouse thyroid organoids. The candidate will characterise oxidative stress dynamics in a zebrafish model that mimics goiter formation in humans. In this the nrf2a gene has been mutated using CRISPR-Cas9. Overall, the project will uncover the delicate balance between the yin and yang of oxidative stress.

The PhD candidate will get training in animal models, organoid, quantitative live imaging, transgenesis, molecular biology and genetics.

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