Research Assistant Position: Genomic Engineering and Age-Related Macular Degeneration (summer)


Research Assistant Position: Genomic Engineering and Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Dr. Fernandez-Godino, Department of Ophthalmology, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Harvard Medical School
summer 2017

Project Description and Duties: Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) affects more than 1.7 million individuals in the US and it will reach 3 million by 2020. Current therapies can improve vision only in some patients with advanced AMD; unfortunately, there is no effective therapy that prevents disease progression in patients with early disease or genetic predisposition. Our aim is to create a cell-based model using induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC)- derived retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells carrying AMD risk variants in complement genes. The mutations will be generated by genomic engineering with CRISPR/Cas 9. So the student will learn this technique, which includes cloning and molecular biology techniques.  The student will also learn cell cultures, specifically iPSC cultures. Our final aim is to discover the primary mechanisms activated by the combination of aging and genetic variants in complement genes in patients with early AMD. Skills Required: No prior research experience is required. Sophomore, Junior and Senior students are encouraged to apply. Additional Information: You will learn typical laboratory skills: cell biology and molecular biology skills (including genomic engineering, stem cell cultures and primary cell cultures), and research skills: study design, data analysis method, presentations, scientific writing, etc. Also, you will have the chance to attend interesting lab meetings and lectures from international researchers. The student will be under the supervision of Dr. Fernandez-Godino, but Dr. Pierce will be available eventually as a mentor. This is an ongoing project, so the student can join us for a variable amount of time (at least 3 months); we can discuss every case. We do not have funds for stipend. Students are encouraged to apply to HCRP (due March 29, 2017), other Harvard fellowships. To Apply: Email your resume and a cover letter to (posted 2/2017)