Thursday, July 02, 2009

Post-doctoral position available

A post-doctoral position is available in the laboratory of Silvia Moreno ( at the Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases, University of Georgia, to study the role of a recently discovered plant-like vacuole from Toxoplasma gondii. This new organelle contains several important transporters usually found in the tonoplast (the membrane of the plant vacuole), such as the vacuolar-proton pyrophosphatase, an aquaporin channel and a cysteine protease similar to aleurain, a plant vacuole protease. Proteomic analysis of a subcellular fraction enriched in this organelle indicates that it contains several transporters and enzymes involved in the homeostasis of calcium and other ions. Preliminary results from our laboratory indicate a
homeostatic role during the survival of the parasite while outside the host cell.

The project will study:
1) The role of the plant-like vacuole in the homeostasis of calcium and other ions in Toxoplasma gondii.
2) Trafficking of proteins to and from this organelle and its relationship with the endocytic pathway
3) Biogenesis and fusion of the plant-like vacuole with other vacuoles such as acidocalcisomes

The laboratory interacts very closely with the laboratory of Dr. Roberto Docampo with several areas of research in common as ion metabolism and cell signaling of Toxoplasma gondii and trypanosomatids (Trypanosoma cruzi, T. brucei and Leishmania spp.). Since the first description of the acidocalcisomes in Trypanosoma brucei we have been studying their function and origin. As the characteristics and features of acidocalcisomes were revealed, it became apparent that they were morphologically and chemically similar to the “granules” described more than 100 years ago as “metachromatic granules”, “volutin granules” or “polyphosphate bodies” in different microorganisms. For more information on our group research interests check our web site:

Applicants should have a PhD in a biological science field. Preference will be given to applicants with strong background in molecular biology and/or cell biology. Experience working with Toxoplasma gondii is not necessary but is an advantage.

Interested candidates should contact Dr. Silvia N.J. Moreno by email: and send their CV and the names/emails of three references.

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