Offre de stage

A photoinducible technology to study neural network plasticity

Période :   au

The project aims to engineer and characterize photoinducible tools 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 termed RAIL (Remodeling of Axons Induced by Light) 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 and cellular bases 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.

More details can be found here at

Profil recherché

We are looking for a motivated student with a background in molecular and cellular biology, 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 a graduate student, in a young and dynamic team at INT.

Établissement d'accueil

The Institut de Neurosciences de la Timone (INT) is an academic research institute located in downtown Marseille on the medical campus of la Timone at Aix-Marseille Univ. The 4500 m2 building is currently home to 12 research teams grouped around 4 major neuroscience disciplines: Cellular Neurobiology, Neurophysiology, Behavioral Neuroscience, and Cognitive Neuroscience. The INT also offers several experimental platforms, including rodent and primate facility, microelectronics fabrication, imaging and photonics facility, virus production platform, and a microfluidic platform.

The SONIC team led by Maxim CAZORLA and Eduardo GASCON gathers 11 researchers, engineers/technicians, and students. By focusing on the plasticity of cognitive networks during childhood and adulthood, the laboratory benefits from the synergy of the approaches developed by the two researchers, respectively experts in in vitro (brain-on-chip, subcellular dynamics) and in vivo (behavior, epigenetics) models.

Since 2022, Maxim Cazorla is co-director of the NeuroTechnology Center (NTC) with Pr. Rod O’Connor (École des Mines). This center, dedicated to technological innovation for Neuroscience, benefits from the total renovation of 400 m2 of experimental laboratories and technical platforms (including a L2 and L3-grade laboratory). The NeuroTech Center currently federates over 10 research teams and technical facilities specialized in neuroscience, bioengineering, microelectronics, optics, biomechanics, computation and photonics.

The current project will be conducted at the NeuroTech Center, and the candidate will closely interact with this community.

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