Master thesis project concerning the blood-brain barrier in pigs at Københavns Universitet

Master thesis students are invited to a project regarding basic characterization of the expression of the molecular components of the blood-brain barrier in the cerebral vasculature of the pig brain.

The blood-brain barrier repels and exports foreign, potentially harmful substances from the bloodstream when they enter the brain. This is a requirement to maintain a favorable environment for brain cells, but it also poses a challenge in curing brain diseases in the future, as only few new pharmacological substances are able to enter the brain and to treat brain diseases. Due to its size and structure, the pig brain is an ideal model for the human brain, and we have therefore initiated a basic characterization of the porcine blood-brain barrier.

The project will include a study of the expression of tight junction proteins, as well as various influx and efflux transport proteins. We will compare the expression of these proteins in arteries, veins and capillaries of the brain in control pigs vs. pigs with experimental obesity/diabetes. Predominantly immunofluorescence microscopy and, to some extent, quantitative real-time PCR are used to map the expression patterns. In addition, database and literature searches will be used to make an overview of the blood-brain barrier expression in the vascular tree in humans and other animals (e.g. mice, rats).

The thesis work should correspond to at least 30 ECTS and preferably 60 ECTS, due to the experimental nature of the project. This call is aimed at students with a strong interest in circulatory physiology / pathophysiology and neuroscience. The project is a collaboration with Professor Birger Brodin (acting head, Dept. of Pharmacy, KU-SUND), who will be involved for discussions.

Contact me as soon as possible to enquire about the project:

Lars Jørn Jensen, Associate Professor, PhD (supervisor)

Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (KU-SUND)

Dyrlægevej 100, 1870 Frb. C

Mail: Lajj@sund.ku.dk

Phone: +45 28757401

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