PhD position: Shedding light on prefrontal cortex cellular and synaptic correlates of memory formation

Shedding light on prefrontal cortex cellular and synaptic correlates of memory formation.

This thesis project is part of the sub-project memory

PhD Thesis project Humeau (IINS, Bordeaux, supervisor)/ Frick (NCM, Bordeaux, partner)

The PhD project’s objective is dual.

  • Design and validate viral tools for the labeling, investigation and manipulation of different types of engram cells in vivo.

Approach: We will tag neurons engaged in memory tasks, called engram cells, using light-gated Cal-Light (DOI: 10.1038/nbt.3902) and CamPARI approaches. We will create new constructs enabling us to target, alter, or manipulate specific neuron types, starting with parvalbumin, somatostatin and VIP interneurons and principal neurons defined by their axonal projections. The objective is to define the condition of use and the limitations of both approaches. This effort will be conducted with the help of the GPR-memory engineer that will design and produce novel viral tools.

  • Decipher the synaptic, cellular and network correlates of learning and memory in the prefrontal cortex.

Approaches: We will tag neurons engaged in behavioral memory tasks in C57/bl6 mice. We will record their activity using electrophysiological and calcium imaging approaches. To study the cellular and synaptic proxies of memory, we will use ex vivo, in situ patch-clamp based in vivo strategies. Ultimately, we will also use viral tools to specifically manipulate synaptic plasticity in the prefrontal cortex engram cells to establish a causality link between learning and plasticity. If permitted by time, the potential of novel tools to restore learning abilities in CD mouse models will be tested.

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