Adult neural stem cells (NSC) have been mainly described to be restricted within limited areas of the brain thought to be germinal remnants. However, new potential sites of NSCs activity have been recently described. The multiple locations of NSC niches, that increase in diseases, leaves open the question of whether and how these structures communicate throughout long distance. I and others have described a new player in the neurovascular unit: the perivascular meningeal stem cells. This cell population endow of neural differentiation potential and can migrate to the injured area contributing to brain parenchymal reaction following injury.
With this IEF, I will have the great opportunity to join the Neurovascular link lab of Prof P. Carmeliet, Leuven, Belgium, to investigate the hypothesis that a subtype of perivascular cells may contribute to neuro-angiogenesis both in health and disease.
I will address the following aims:
(i) To genetically target perivascular meningeal stem cells. (ii) To understand the contribution of perivascular meningeal stem cells to neuro-angiogenesis in physiological and (iii) pathological conditions (stroke and cancer).
I will follow the fate of perivascular meningeal stem cells by gene fate mapping them combining several techniques, including mouse transgenesis, stereotactic viral vector transduction and in vivo plasmid electroporation. Moreover, I will investigate possible molecular mechanisms of stem cell differentiation by targeting relevant metabolic pathways. Finally, I will use laser induced photoactivated stroke and genetically knock-in/-out cancers as diseases animal models. This multidisciplinary approach will eventually shed the light to identify new player in the complex events occurring in endogenous neural regeneration and cancer.
This experience will give me the chance to learn high impact research and to publish in top journals. This will dramatically improve my possibility to start an independent research career.
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