Project/Job Description: The Neuro Immuno Interface (NII) Lab is focusing on the function of neuropeptide systems in epithelial tissue repair, immune function, skin sensory disorders, and circadian rhythm regulation. We study the role of neuropeptides and their receptors in nerve regeneration, and their interactions with epithelial cells to mediate the wound healing process, especially immune and neuronal reaction. The nervous system in skin interacts closely with different skin cells, such as keratinocytes, and immune cells. We have shown that neurotransmitter systems and other sensory receptor systems exist in skin cells and influence both skin sensation, homeostasis, and immune modulation. The aim of this project is to study the role of cytokines and neurotransmitters in the cutaneous multi player network using human stem cell co-culture system, molecular and cellular biology, and circadian rhythm sample collection to study the function of keratinocytes, immune cells, sensory neurons, and endothelial cells for their interactions. We collaborate extensively with engineers and clinicians and aim for high impact research including experiments to be conducted on the international space station. Recently, we initiated a Long COVID project on neuro-immuno-vascular disorder symptoms.
Job Responsibilities 40%: Grow 3D full thickness skin model, create new 3D models with genetically modified cells, and incorporate other cell types including vascular, immune cells, pigmented cells into the models.
30%: Derive human peripheral sensory neurons from human stem cells. Study the interactions between epidermal cells and peripheral nerve fibers or immune cells or endothelial cells in co-culture. Characterize the change of the quality and function of the neuron or the epithelial cells due to the presence of the other component. Experiments will involve culture of skin cells, neuronal cells, and endothelial cells and co-culture between them; circadian rhythm sample collection; confocal microscopy.
20%: Analyze the morphology and expression of protein and RNA in human skin samples. The techniques involve immunohistochemistry, various forms of microscopy and spectroscopy, RNA isolation and various RNA analysis methods, Western blot, ChIP and EMSA assay.
10%: Study the effect of different neurotransmitters and cytokines on axon development and guidance in vitro and the changes in the interactions between epithelial cells and nerve fibers. Investigate the role of opioid receptors in this interaction using our transgenic cell lines.
The University of Minnesota offers a comprehensive benefits package including:
Competitive wages, paid holidays, vacation and sick leave
Low cost medical, dental, and pharmacy plans
Health care and dependent daycare flexible spending accounts
Excellent retirement plans with employer match
Disability and employer paid life insurance
Wellbeing program with reduced insurance premiums
Tuition reimbursement opportunities covering 75%-100% of eligible tuition
The University of Minnesota, founded in the belief that all people are enriched by understanding, is dedicated to the advancement of learning and the search for truth; to the sharing of this knowledge through education for a diverse community; and to the application of this knowledge to benefit the people of the state, the nation, and the world.