Synaptic zinc contribution to cognitive and emotional functions associated to Basal Ganglia

The research project addresses synaptic zinc contribution to the functions of the striatum, input stage of the basal ganglia. Using a combinations of a combination of approaches (behavioural, optogenetic, immunohistochemistry, western blot and quantitative real-time p PCR techniques) and tools (pharmacological and genetic manipulations) we seek to determine the role of synaptic zinc in the control of emotional and cognitive behaviors and its contribution to the pathophysiology of neurologic (Parkinson’s disease) and psychiatric disorders (psychosis and mood disorders) linked to the basal ganglia.

This project will be conducted in the team “Basal Ganglia Cognition and Physiopathology” led by Dr.
AM Ouagazzal. The research team has broad-based expertise that spans neuropharmacology, biochemistry, optogenetic and behavioural genetics. During his (her) PhD work, the student will acquire strong expertise in behavioural analysis (battery of tests for cognitive, emotional and motor functions) and neuropharmacology and optogenetics (e.g., stereotaxic implantation, intracerebral injections and photostimulations). He/she will also acquire biochemical and cellular biology techniques to measure protein kinase activities in vivo (western blotting) and map gene and protein expression (quantitative real-time PCR and immunohistochemistry techniques). The student will benefit from a rich scientific and technical environment, in the FR3C Research Federation (FR3C:3512) platforms, that will let him/her to develop his/her researcher potential and communication skills.

Teached approaches and techniques:

Tasks for assessing motor, cognitive and emotional behaviors in rodents
Immunohistochemistry, western blot, genotyping, RT-PCR
In vivo pharmacology of neurotransmitters and receptors
In vivo optogenetic

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