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The objective of this study is to develop a photoinducible axon remodeling system using brain-on-a-chip devices


During adult life, neuronal circuits can undergo profound reorganization over a surprising broad scale. These observations led to the emergence of the brain rewiring concept, which postulates that entire segments of axon projections can grow or retract to form new network combination and learning modules in response to environmental changes. However, because current approaches rely on post-hoc analyses and indirect manipulations, it is not possible to demonstrate the behavioral advantage of large-scale structural reorganization. To overcome this limitation, we are developing a photoinducible system to connect and disconnect axon projections on-demand, in order to link specific neural architectures to identified functions.
The goal of the present project is to set the molecular basis of the photoinducible system in vitro. The candidate will test different molecular strategies using reconstructed neuronal networks in vitro and targeted laser illumination.
Our methodology combines state of the art brain-on-a-chip devices, primary neuron co-cultures, virus-mediated gene expression, live videomicroscopy and optogenetics.

Desired profile

We are looking for strongly motivated student with a background in neuroscience and with a fair understanding of neural plasticity. Previous experience with cell cultures, videomicroscopy or microfluidic fabrication would be a plus but is not mandatory.
The candidate will be closely supervised by the PI and will work with an experienced engineer during the whole duration of the project.
Possibility for a fully-funded PhD thesis at the end of the internship.

Host institution

Institut de Neurosciences de la Timone (INT)
Aix Marseille Université
Campus medical de la Timone
Marseille F-13005

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