Our lab. researches essential mechanisms that regulate the development of the nervous and skeletal systems during embryogenesis. We focus on three distinct and intimately interacting systems, the development of the neural crest into the peripheral nervous system and the ontogeny of the neural tube into distinct cell types of the central nervous system (CNS). Lately, we became interested in the transition between the early neural crest and the definitive roof plate of the spinal cord, the latter constituting an organizing center for dorsal CNS development. To this end, we performed a transcriptome analysis of premigratory neural crest vs. roof plate progenitors; this yielded a rich assortment of novel and specific genes that will enable us to tackle the molecular basis of this important transition.
In parallel, our lab made significant contributions to the understanding of mesoderm development into muscle and dermis, and our current studies focus on the formation and evolution of the sclerotome into vertebra and tendons. As mentioned above, since mesodermal and neural components actively interact during development to establish an adult pattern of functional units, we study the mechanisms of action of locally secreted morphogens such as Sonic hedgehog, BMPs, Notch, Retinoic acid and Wnts in the consolidation of the precedent systems and the cross-talk between them.
Our main experimental system are avian embryos (chick and quail species) which provide a fantastic platform for embryonic microsurgery and gene transfer (gain and loss of function) in ovo, followed by analysis of live and fixed embryos, cell cultures and tissue explants. Data analysis is performed by regular fluorescent and confocal imaging, and by state of the art quantitative molecular approaches.
We believe that focusing on embryonic development will help us understanding the generation of complexity that characterizes the nervous and skeletal systems, as well as give us tools for approaching the etiology and treatment of congenital malformations.
For more details, please consult the PubMed under the name of Kalcheim, C.
Required experience and background of the candidates
We look for highly capable and motivated students, holding a PhD degree in various fields of Biology. Experience in Molecular Biology and Basic Computer skills is required.
Students should have fine motor skills to work with tiny embryos under dissecting microscopes. Most of all, candidates should be curious and eager to learn!
Contact person: Prof. Chaya Kalcheim, Dept. of Medical Neurobiology, IMRIC and ELSC
Address: Hebrew University of Jerusalem- Hadassah Medical School- POB 12272- Jerusalem-Israel 9112102