A postdoctoral position is available to study the mechanisms of neuro-immune control of sexually transmitted mucosal viral infections. The project will be conducted at the Cochin Institute, under the supervision of Dr Yonatan Ganor, in the laboratory of Mucosal Entry of HIV-1 and Mucosal Immunity, headed by Dr Morgane Bomsel.
Langerhans cells (LCs), the resident antigen-presenting cells in genital epithelia, are the early targets of sexually transmitted mucosal viruses, including human immunodeficienty virus type 1 (HIV-1) and herpes simplex virus (HSV). All epithelia are also innervated by sensory peripheral neurons, secreting different neuropeptides. We recently discovered that one of these neuropeptides, namely calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), is endowed with anti-viral activities and strongly inhibits LCs-mediated transmission of both HIV-1 and HSV.
We are developing small-molecule CGRP receptor (CGRP-R) agonists to be used therapeutically against mucosal viruses. The proposed translational project aims at in-depth characterization of the anti-viral potential of such CGRP-R agonists, in-vitro using monocyte-derived LCs, ex-vivo using human genital tissue explants, and in-vivo using mice models. The project also aims at establishing a novel neuro-immune experimental model, using microfluidic chambers and including human CGRP-positive neurons, epithelial cells and LCs.
We are looking for a highly motivated post-doctoral fellow with a PhD in biological sciences, preferably in neurology, immunology and/or virology, with at least one first author publication. The enthusiastic and highly motivated candidate should have strong interest in neuroimmunology and be capable of working independently. Experience in molecular and cellular biology techniques, microscopy and flow cytometry, is highly appreciated.