Research Assistant Position: Novel Therapeutics for Intraocular Pathological Angiogenesis

 

Research Assistant Position: Novel Therapeutics for Intraocular Pathological Angiogenesis
Hetian Lei, Ph.D., Schepens Eye Resaerch Institute / Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Department of Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School
spring and summer 2017

Description of Project: Exploration of novel approaches to the treatment of intraocular pathological angiogenesis. VEGF plays a central role in angiogenesis, the process by which new blood vessels grow from pre-existing vasculature, and its receptor VEGFR2 mediates almost all known VEGF-induced output, including neovascularization. New fragile vessels are associated with a number of eye diseases such proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR) and neo-vascular age-related macular degeneration (wet AMD). Without timely treatment, the abnormal vessels in these eye diseases leak blood into vitreous, blur vision, destroy the retina and lead to blindness. Inhibition of VEGF-stimulated activation of VEGFR2 with neutralizing VEGF antibodies (ranibizumab & bevacizumab) and a recombinant fusion protein with the partial extracellular domains of VEGFR1 & 2 (aflibercept) has become important therapy to treat abnormal angiogenesis associated with PDR and wet AMD. While these drugs can reduce vessel leakage and angiogenesis, continuous (and potentially harmful) ocular injections are required. In addition, there are number of patients with these eye diseases do not respond to the antiVEGF treatment. Thus, we are exploring a novel therapeutic approach to the intraocular pathological angiogenesis with an AAV-CRISPR/Cas9-based gene therapy. Expectations and Requirements: No previous research experience is necessary. Number of hours is negotiable. Additional Information: Hetian Lei is the project PI. Learning outcome: Development of basic science laboratory skills: tissue culture, PCR, Western blotting, immunohistochemistry, work with animal models, etc. In addition, students will learn how to design experiments, write scientific papers, present the data, and analyze data. Consequently, the PI will co-publish a scientific paper with the student. Laboratory funding: The laboratory will fund all consumables, but there is no funding for a stipend.  Applicants are encouraged to apply for fellowships. To Apply: please send your CV to Dr. Hetian Lei at Hetian_lei@meei.harvard.edu. (posted 3/2017)