A postdoctoral fellowship position is available in the Section of Protein Structure and Function, Laboratory of Retinal and Molecular Biology (LRCMB) at the National Eye Institute. The major aims of the section include developing new tools for studying protein structure as it relates to retina function and mechanism of action of retinoprotective factors. A long-standing project focuses on multifunctional factors with retinoprotective properties, such as the SERPIN pigment epithelium-derived factor (PEDF), which acts in neuronal differentiation and survival, and prevents angiogenesis, tumor growth and metastasis. Pathological retinal cell demise and abnormal vessel growth can perturb the structure and morphology of the retina and lead to visual loss. If the cell death and/or angiogenesis are prevented, retinal degeneration can be restricted. Therefore, endogenous neurotrophic factors and angiogenic inhibitors are likely to play an important role in retinal protection. Upon interaction with cell-surface receptors the naturally-occurring PEDF stimulates the receptor’s lipase activity and, in turn, affects lipid metabolism, which has been recently associated with retinal survival/degeneration. A new project will study the downstream neurotrophic effects of PEDF on mitochondria and metabolism. Our goal is to understand neurotrophic interactions, signaling pathways, and metabolomics to aid in the identification of potential drug targets that can prevent retinal degeneration.
For additional information, please refer to the following web page: irp.nih.gov/pi/s-patricia-becerra
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