Internship: Molecular mechanisms of the blood-retina and blood-brain barrier


Cerebral oedema, or swelling of the brain, is a potentially life-threatening condition, and diabetic macular oedema (DME), swelling of the retina, is a major cause of blindness. Both conditions result from loss of function of the neuroprotective blood-brain barrier (BBB) and the blood-retina barrier (BRB) of blood vessels. This is usually caused by growth factors such as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), which is produced during oxygen deprivation (hypoxia) in nerve tissue, and/or inflammatory mechanisms. 


We have already learned a lot from previous research about the molecular mechanisms that are involved in BRB rupture and have found an endothelial cell-specific protein that plays plays an important role in this. We have shown that inhibition of this protein can prevent permeability of the BRB can occur in vitro and in vivo. Via exactly which mechanism this occurs - and which proteins are involved in this - we want to find out further in the current project. You will work together with a PhD student and learn various molecular biological techniques (including lentiviral transduction, cell culture, permeability assays, confocal microscopy, immunoprecipitation, western blot analysis, qPCR).

Interested or more information? Then send your CV and a short motivation to Ingeborg Klaassen: i.klaassen @