PhD position: Brainstem control of locomotion in mice

PROJECT: The locomotor role of dopaminergic cells is classically attributed to their ascending projections to the basal ganglia that project to brainstem locomotor circuits that controls locomotion. However, descending dopaminergic projections to brainstem locomotor circuits were uncovered (Ryczko et al. PNAS 2013, PNAS 2016, J Neurosci 2017, J Neurosci 2020). In lamprey, these descending projections increase locomotor activity. In mammals, their role remains to be determined.

The student will address this issue in mice using in vivo optogenetics and chemogenetics, movement analysis, patch-clamp electrophysiology or calcium imaging in brain slices, viral injections or neuroanatomy. The new knowledge will provide a better understanding of the relation between dopaminergic and locomotor neurons and help identify new clinical strategies to improve locomotor function in Parkinson’s disease.

REQUIREMENTS: The candidate should have completed a MSc in neuroscience or a close field. The ideal candidate would have experience in patch-clamp electrophysiology, optogenetics or calcium imaging in slices, in vivo optogenetics or chemogenetics, virus injections, matlab scripting, and a keen interest in motor control.

HOST LABORATORY: Pr. Ryczko has expertise in the neural control of locomotion and published his research in excellent journals (PNAS, Science, Science Robotics, Journal of Neuroscience…). The lab receives grant support by the CIHR, NSERC, FRQS, CFI and ERC. We are equipped for optogenetics, viral injections, patch-clamp recordings, confocal and two photon calcium imaging, high-resolution movement analysis based on deep learning, and microscopy (confocal, light-sheet, two-photon, STED).

START: The student could start either in May 2024 or September 2024.

APPLY: Candidates should send a letter of interest, a CV, a complete record of their academic results and three references at: Please specify where you found the job post.

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