Over half of the genome is made up of transcribed repetitive elements, but we know very little about how this “repeatome” influences neuronal function or contributes to human neurological disease beyond a few loci. The Todd Lab at the University of Michigan studies both disease-specific nucleotide repeat expansions (C9orf72 associated ALS/FTD and Fragile X-associated disorders such as FXTAS and Fragile X Syndrome) as well as the broader novel roles of the Repeatome on biology and disease. We use multimodal model systems (Fly, Rodent, and human iPSC/hESC derived neurons) coupled to biochemical, bioinformatics and molecular tools to understand pathogenic mechanisms and develop novel therapeutic strategies.
Current Projects include:
- How repeats trigger translation in the absence of an AUG codon (RAN translation) and how this contributes to neurological disease.
- How repeats and upstream open reading frames act to regulating neuronal function and protein synthesis.
- Delineate the modes by which newly described disease causing repeats cause neurologic disease using Drosophila and human iPSC derived neuronal models.
- Use informatics approaches and long-read Nanopore sequencing backed with biological validation to define new repeat expansion disorders and their biology.
- Novel Projects of the fellow’s design on repeat expansion disorders.
Ideal candidates will bring enthusiasm, independence and a willingness to take on challenging projects. We are particularly interested in candidates with past experience in human stem cell work, cell and molecular biology, Drosophila, and/or Bioinformatics, but will consider the best candidates regardless of past technical expertise. A desire to learn and try new things is important. The lab is highly collaborative both within the lab and with other groups at Michigan and worldwide so a desire to work with others is important. We currently have independent funding for up to two new fellows including generous benefits and support for travel to international meetings. Past fellows and students have consistently gone on from the lab to tenure track faculty positions or other successful positions within industry/academia.
Positions are available as early as January 1, 2020.