Vacancy: Neuronal network and mitochondrial activity in iPSC models for neurodegeneration

The CONNECT consortium is looking for an enthousiastic PhD/Postdoc. In this research project you will investigate how clusters of neurons (IPSC derived or primary enteric and central nervous system) establish functional circuits and how their activity influences each other. You will be responsible for co-culturing different neuron types and work towards the implementation of these functional networks in a microfluidic device to ultimately mimic the neuronal component of the gut-brain axis. This work is part of a larger FETPROACT project (CONNECT) in which, together with several European colleagues, we aim to establish an integrated multicompartment neuronal circuit on a single microfluidic chip. Given the intriguing hypothesis of H. Braak (2006), stating that the gut neurons could act as a relay station for the pathological transmission from the ENS to the CNS, we will test a number of questions specifically related to role of the gut-brain connection in Parkinson’s Disease. You will use advanced imaging tools including confocal, Airyscan, STED and non-linear optical approaches (multiphoton and second-harmonic imaging) to investigate recurrent activity patterns within the compartments as well as trafficking of (mutated) proteins (e.g. α-synuclein) and protein complexes between the groups of cells. In combination with calcium imaging, electrical and optogenetic technology, we aim to investigate the relation between neuronal activity, axonal transport and interactive circuit activity.

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