PhD student in Biophysics/Electrophysiology (no. of positions 2) (# of pos: 2)

Updated: about 1 month ago
Deadline: 31 Jul 2021

We invite you to be part of the project “Voltage across a hydrogel: A new perspective on cell’s membrane potential and its implication for embryogenesis.”

Different value of resting membrane potential is characteristic for different cells’ types. Plastic (undergoing changes and fast division), embryonic, steam, but also cancerous cells have less negative potential than terminally differentiated cells. So, if we can affect membrane potential, we can possibly control cell’s performance (e.g. hamper spreading of cancerous cells or induce regeneration of different tissues and organs).

Our study in particular will focus on the effect of gel-like characteristics of the cell on its electric properties. We would like to create gel-based model of membrane potential generation, largely unaffected by specific biological processes (such as functioning of membrane pumps and channels). We can use this model to study effects of specific stimuli – CO2 (respiratory gas), infrared (metabolic heat) and mechanic deformation - on electric potential. Model’s predictions can be verified in systems involving living cells. We will start from algal cells and proceed toward animal (chick) embryos. Control of membrane potential can be very useful tool for emerging applications in medicine.

There are two investigation paths:

  • Study of voltage generation across a hydrogel membrane (mimicking intracellular structures) and development of a model to be applied in biophysical studies;
  • Electrophysiological measurements of membrane potential in algal and chick embryo’s cells in response to selected environmental stimuli (from the perspective of the gel-based model).

Conditions

  • PhD scholarship for 48 months;
  • Place of work: Institute of Animal Reproduction and Food Research of Polish Academy of Sciences in Olsztyn (Poland), Department of Reproductive Immunology & Pathology (www.pan.olsztyn.pl )
  • Starting date: 1st October 2021

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