A position for a PhD-Student funded as part of the DFG Priority Program SPP 1080 ‘Computational Connectomics’ is available in the laboratory of Simon Rumpel at the University Medical Center of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany.
Neuronal circuits live at the edge: Excessive inhibition leads to dampening of excitability and hinders proper flow of neuronal activity in the network. Excessive excitation, however, is believed to contribute to psychiatric diseases such as autism and schizophrenia and may underlie catastrophic network states such as epilepsy. The right balance between excitation and inhibition (E/I balance) is therefore a fundamental prerequisite for proper function of neural circuits. How this balance is maintained in neuronal networks is poorly understood, in particular in light of ongoing dynamic remodeling of synaptic connectivity.
The aim of this project is to unravel homeostatic mechanisms that ensure functional stability of neuronal ensembles forming auditory representations in a dynamic cortical architecture. To that goal, we will combine chronic two-photon imaging in mice with pharmacogenetic manipulation of cellular excitability. We will assess the impact on the dynamics of synaptic connections in vivo in order to unravel mechanisms that safeguard the balance of excitation and inhibition in cortical circuits.
Applicants should have obtained a master’s degree or diploma in neuroscience or related field, have a quantitative understanding of biology, have excellent communication skills, and have an interest to work in a collaborative and international environment. Previous experience in physiological and imaging approaches are beneficial. This project will be conducted in tight collaboration with Matthias Kaschube’s and Jochen Triesch’s groups at the FIAS in Frankfurt, which will complement the experimental approaches in Mainz with advanced image analysis and theoretical modeling efforts.
For further information, or to apply, please contact Heidrun Rumpel (firstname.lastname@example.org). Applications should include a motivation letter, the applicant’s CV, publications and email addresses of two references.
Application deadline: February 28, 2018