What is the project about?
The postdoc 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. This is particularly true for epilepsy, where hundreds of mutations affecting ATP production have been found to cause seizures in humans, yet we still don’t understand how and why that is really happening.
We will explore several angles of this problem using molecular biology and proteomics to identify novel players controlling this process and combining electrophysiological stimulation and confocal/2-photon microscopy in primary neurons/brain slices to understand the role of newly-identified molecules. We have now an exciting novel optical toolkit to explore glycolytic and mitochondrial function (unpublished) that we will combine with pharmacological and genetical manipulations to dissect the molecular underpinnings regulating presynaptic bioenergetics. Here is an example of the style of science we will do de Juan-Sanz et al 2017 Neuron and here a short explanation of the general interest of the lab. We will also collaborate with physicians at the Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital, who will provide from time to time human brain samples from epilepsy surgeries. Using human brain samples from regions where seizures originate (epileptic focus) and non-epileptic cortical regions that must be removed to access the epileptic focus, we will start a project to analyze bioenergetic biology in human neurons using the our toolkit, aiming to better understand the missing molecular link between dysfunctional bioenergetics and epilepsy.
Who are we looking for?
We are looking for an enthusiast postdoc interested in quantitative biology and neuroscience. You should have a Ph.D. and/or M.D., a passion for scientific discovery and experience in either 1) biochemistry and molecular biology, 2) electrophysiology or 3) live cell imaging (confocal and 2-photon microscopy). A detail-oriented, quantitative mindset is critical.
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 information of at least 3 references, including your PhD supervisor. We will be receiving applications until mid-April but applying early is strongly recommended. Ability to secure external funding is a plus. And don’t hesitate to ask any questions you may have about the science or the position.