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Functional dissection in vivo of the mechanism that generates the respiratory rhythm.

Pulmonary respiration is a vital physiological activity, characterised by rhythmic oscillations between inspiration and expiration. The respiratory command is generated by a network of neurons in the brainstem. Core to this network is a group of inspiratory neurons, the pre-Bötzinger complex, which is the oscillator that generates the respiratory rhythm. Despite its crucial importance, the mechanism by which the pre-Bötzinger complex generates the respiratory rhythm is still unknown. Using state-of-the-art in vivo calcium imaging in vigil animals, we study micro-network dynamics intrinsic the pre-Bötzinger complex that lead to respiratory rhythmogenesis.

During this internship, and depending on the level of progress of the project, the student will use viruses and/or transgenic mice to induce expression of the calcium indicator, micro-endoscopes and a miniaturised microscope for in vivo calcium imaging in vigil animals, will perform perfusions, brain dissections and immunohistochemical labellings, as well as analysis of pre-Bötzinger complex cellular activities associated to analysis of respiratory activity.

Bibliography:
– Del Negro CA et al., Breathing matters, Nature Reviews Neuroscience 2018
– Smith JC et al., Brainstem respiratory networks: building blocks and microcircuits, Trends in Neurosciences 2013
– Resendez SL et al., Visualization of cortical, subcortical and deep brain neural circuit dynamics during naturalistic mammalian behavior with head-mounted microscopes and chronically implanted lenses, Nature Protocols 2016

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