What is the project about?
The PhD project will be part of one of the main interests of the lab where we will focus on understanding how neurons control at the molecular level their energy availability (e.g. ATP) to sustain the energetically-demanding process of synaptic transmission. Lack of sufficient energy results in an impairment in neuronal communication, ultimately leading to cognitive dysfunction, but the molecular link between dysfunctional bioenergetics and neurological disease is still not well understood.
The PhD project will tackle an important question to understand how our neurons communicate to each other: how is mitochondrial ATP production activated during synaptic activity to sustain the acute energetic needs of neurotransmission? This problem will be studied using electrophysiological stimulation and fluorescence microscopy in primary neurons and brain slices, imaging nerve terminals of live neurons and quantifying their synaptic function during stimulation using different optical tools. We have now an exciting novel toolkit to explore mitochondrial function (unpublished) and the PhD position will leverage this new technology to identify molecular mechanisms that control ATP production on demand. Neurons will be manipulated pharmacologically and genetically to dissect the molecular underpinnings regulating this process. Here is an example of the style of science we do de Juan-Sanz et al 2017 Neuron and here a short explanation of the general interest of the lab.
Who are we looking for?
We are looking for an enthusiast recent graduate/master’s student interested with a strong interest in neuroscience to join our team to pursue a PhD at the Doctoral School of Sorbonne University, to which my lab is affiliated. A quantitative and organized mindset is required. Previous lab experience, as well as holding a master’s is a plus but it is not required.
If you have an interest in our lab, please get in touch at Jaime@dejuan.com: send your CV and write a few lines of your future interests, and please include contact info of your references, if you have lab experience. We will be receiving applications until mid-April but applying early is strongly recommended. And don’t hesitate to ask any questions you may have.