Research Assistant, Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, School of Medicine, University College Cork. 

2 years , Fixed-Term, Whole-time Post.

Position Summary 

Applications are invited for a position of Research Assistant on ‘Targeting the compromised brain endothelial barrier function during cerebral malaria with AT2 receptor agonists’ project within the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics.

Project Title: Targeting the compromised brain endothelial barrier function during cerebral malaria with AT2 receptor agonists

Project Background 

The project focuses on identifying new treatment options for cerebral malaria (CM), the most virulent and deadliest manifestation of malaria. It is caused by Plasmodium falciparum infected erythrocytes (iRBC) adhering to host brain endothelial cells and compromising the blood brain barrier. While available anti-malarial drugs are effective at clearing parasites from the blood, they do not have specific effects against CM.

We have found that P. falciparum-iRBC induced disruption of human brain microvascular endothelial cell junctions was prevented by the activation of the angiotensin (Ang) II receptor type 2 (AT2), achieving protection of endothelial integrity. We also found that mice deficient in the AT2 receptor are more susceptible to this syndrome. Angiotensin II is only a biased agonist of the G-protein coupled receptor AT2, and we have discovered the real endogenous agonist for AT2 (EA). Based on in silico modelling and in vitro experiments, we have also identified a first AT2-specific non-peptidic receptor agonist (SNPA). We hypothesize that activation of specific intracellular signaling pathways of AT2 protects human brain and retinal endothelial cells from P. falciparum-induced disruption of inter-endothelial junctions, thus maintaining endothelial function, reducing/preventing edema and hemorrhages and thus CM and related retinopathy.

 

Post Duration: 2 years (with possible extension)

Salary: €27,380 – €36,786 p.a. (IUA Salary Scale)

For an information package including further details of the post see https://ore.ucc.ie/.

 

Informal enquiries can be made in confidence to Professor Thomas Walther, Pharmacology and Therapeutics, T: + 353 (0) 21 420 5947, E: t.walther@ucc.ie.

 

Applications must be submitted online via the University College Cork vacancy portal (https://ore.ucc.ie/). Queries relating to the online application process should be referred to recruitment@ucc.ie, quoting the job-title and project name.

 

Candidates should apply, in confidence, before 12 noon (Irish Local Time) on Tuesday 26th July 2022 . No late applications will be accepted.

 

Please note that an appointment to posts advertised will be dependent on University approval, together with the terms of the employment control framework for the higher education sector.

 

UCC is committed to creating and fully embracing an inclusive environment where diversity is celebrated.  As a University we strive to create a workplace that reflects the diversity of our student population where people from a wide variety of backgrounds learn from one another, share ideas, and work collaboratively. UCC is committed to being an employer that recognises the value of diversity amongst its staff.  We encourage applicants to consult our policies at https://www.ucc.ie/en/edi/policies/ and initiatives at https://www.ucc.ie/en/edi/implementation/ and we welcome applications from everyone, including those who are underrepresented in the protected characteristics set out in our Equal Opportunities & Diversity Policy.