The objective of the project is to study how social interactions and memories are encoded in the mouse prefrontal cortex. We recorded the activity of a set of neurons by INSCOPIX microendoscopy calcium imaging while the mouse could freely investigate familiar or novel conspecifics in a social interaction arena. We are now in the process of using cutting-edge supervised and non-supervised machine learning techniques to related the measured neuronal activity with the social behavior of the animals. We would like to assess the performance of these methods and compare them with results obtained on other brain areas. These computational pipelines will then be used to characterize the neuronal activity change in a mouse model for autism (Neurod2 mutation).
The project requires experience in machine learning and signal analysis techniques.
The project aims at determining how neurons in the cortex encode social behaviors such as investigation and familiarization at single cell and cell population levels, in normal vs autistic conditions.
We recorded the calcium activity of a set of neurons by INSCOPIX microendoscopy while the mouse could freely investigate familiar or novel conspecifics in a social interaction arena.
We will design analysis pipelines with the help of modern machine learning toolbox (scikit-learn, PyTorch). We will then use theoretical tools to characterize the geometry of the neuronal activity space, determine a coding scheme and elaborate on its function.
Having recorded mice that carried Neurod2 mutation (an autism model), we will test how coding scheme and social behavior interplay.
The student will work in close collaboration with a wet lab post-doc who is performing all miniscope surgeries and behavior experiments.
We are looking for a physicist or a computer scientist with experience or strong interest in machine learning techniques and theory. A further interest in neuroscience would be greatly appreciated.
INMED is located on the Luminy campus a few minutes from the Calanques. It is one of the most important neuroscience research center in France gathering 130 researchers, teacher-researchers and engineers, of international origin. The main research topics are brain development and plasticity, as well as associated neurological pathologies.