One full-time postdoctoral position is available in the lab of Dr. Joanne Matsubara, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Faculty of Medicine UBC. The expected start date is negotiable, although a start date as early as possible is considered favorable.
The research project addresses the overarching challenge of detection of the early onset of amyloid beta plaques (Abeta) in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). It does so by proposing a novel approach to image retinal Abeta by using signals emitted by fluorescence.
AD is the most common cause of dementia among elderly people. Its pathology is characterized by the presence of extracellular deposits of misfolded and aggregated Abeta peptides, which subsequently spread from the hippocampus to the cerebral cortex causing neuronal death and ultimately loss of memory, logic and the ability to speak. At present, no disease-modifying therapy is effective against AD nor it is possible to diagnose the early onset and/or the progress of the disease.
Recent findings indicate that elevated levels of Abeta peptides are associated with dysfunctional neuronal networks both in the brain and eyes. Because AD undergoes a protracted asymptomatic stage before it reaches the advanced stage, a window of opportunity exists for early intervention, and successful detection of the early onset of the disease via routine screening will improve therapeutic outcomes and save lives. In that regard, early detection of retinal Abeta at ophthalmology centers, widely available in health community settings seems ideal in terms of practicality, feasibility, safety and cost. Recently, our group demonstrated a novel approach for delivery of fluoroprobes (such as curcumin) in vivo via inhalation/aerosol. We recently demonstrated that inhaling curcumin aerosol resulted in significant accumulation of the compound in the retina. Further, we also demonstrated that curcumin binds to Abeta in retinal sublayers.
The ideal candidate will have expertise in at least one of the following categories: retinal degenerations, in vivo ophthalmic imaging, Alzheimer's disease, vision science, neuroscience, animal models, cell culture models.
For more information about the Matsubara Lab, and our other current areas of eye research, please see: http://matsubaralab.med.ubc.ca