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Targeting Sphingolipid Biosynthesis in Motor Neuron Disease

Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland

Position Description

A post-doctoral fellow position is available for a highly motivated individual to join the Mohassel laboratory in Johns Hopkins School of Medicine Department of Neurology.
My laboratory focuses on translational studies of neurogenetic, neuromuscular disorders. We have recently discovered a new monogenic form of motor neuron disease/ALS caused by mutations in SPTLC1, a component of serine palmitoyltransferase enzyme. These mutations disrupt the regulation of this enzyme by its natural inhibitor proteins, ORMDLs, and thus result in an overactive enzyme complex. We have established in vitro and in vivo models in the laboratory for the studies of this project. This project will focus on mechanistic studies using patient cells, iPSCs, and iPSC derived motor neurons as well as a knock-in mouse model of the disease. In addition, several candidate therapeutics will be tested, including small molecules and RNA-directed therapies, both in vitro and in vivo. This project has potential for a high degree of productivity and scientific contribution to understanding a novel metabolic mechanism of neurodegeneration and preclinical therapeutic development. The research postdoctoral fellow will also receive close mentorship and guidance from the principal investigator.


Candidates should hold a doctorate degree with extensive background in molecular biology, cell biology, genetics, biochemistry or a related field.
Candidates should be willing to work with murine models of disease, though specific training will be provided as needed.
Candidates with experience in culturing iPSCs are preferred.
Candidates with a record of research excellence demonstrated by publications will be favored.
Applicants from diverse backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply.

To Apply

Interested candidates should send their CV, a brief letter outline of their future research goals, and names and contact information for at least two references to:

Payam Mohassel, MD
Associate Professor of Neurology
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine