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NEURONAL REGULATION OF PANCREATIC BETA-CELL FUNCTION: SPOTLIGHT ON ENDOCANNABINOIDS IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF INTERCELLULAR COMMUNICATION
Supervisor:
Agnieszka Dobrzyn, Ph.D,
Supervisor webpage
http://www.nencki.gov.pl/en/working_groups/biochemistry/lab_13.html
Foreign partner:
Prof. Tibor Harkany, Ph.D., Institute of Medical Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Scotland, UK
Foreign partner webpage:
http://www.abdn.ac.uk/ims/staff/details.php?id=t.harkany
Background:
Increasing body of evidence suggest a key role for CNS in the control of beta-cell growth, differentiation, proliferation and survival. However, the mechanisms underlying neuronal regulations of beta-cell function and development are poorly understood. Our preliminary results suggest that lipid mediators (including endocannabinoids) may be important in these processes. Based on our brain studies, we proposed a model hypothesizing that endocannabinoids contribute to defining the location of synapses during brain development (Harkany et al., Curr Opin Neurobiol (2008)). The molecular principles of endocannabinoid-mediated synaptogenesis may be very similar when nerves grow towards a peripheral target i.e. pancreas.
Aim of the study:
A main goal of the project is to determine the role of endocannabinoids in the development of intercellular (neuronal - beta-cell) communication, and to gain insights into the role of CB1 cannabinoid receptor in regulation of pancreatic beta-cell function.
International exchange:
Four six-month visits of the PhD student at the University of Aberdeen, UK are planned.
Additional requirements for the student:
Experience in molecular biology and biochemistry, and excellent manual skills are required.


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