[Comp-neuro] Open position for a MSc student :: Modeling the impact
of astrocyte-neuron metabolic interactions on neural activity
rjolivet at pharma.uzh.ch
Thu May 22 10:20:06 CEST 2008
Apologies for cross postings.
The group of Prof Bruno Weber (University of Zurich, Institute of
Pharmacology and Toxicology) is looking for a talented and motivated Masters
student for a computational neuroscience project aimed at understanding the
energetic constraints of neuronal activity.
The brain uses glucose as its primary energy substrate. Surprisingly
however, neurons use lactate a glucose derivative rather than glucose
has their main energy fuel. Lactate is being produced in astrocytes from
blood-borne glucose and is then shuttled to neurons instantiating a
metabolic connection between astrocytes and neurons. Since this mechanism
was originally postulated in 1994, its existence has been the subject of a
much heated controversy. We have recently demonstrated using mathematical
analysis that this lactate shuttle does take place in vivo, is of
significant importance and is regulated by the activity of excitatory
neurons as originally postulated. This leaves open the question as to why
brain energetic is organized in this fashion. This question is being
addressed in the group at the moment using a combination of in vivo
experiments and modeling. With this project, we wish to open a new line of
research focusing on the role of this lactate shuttle in the regulation of
neuronal activity, a mechanism recently described in vitro.
The project will consist of developing, simulating and analyzing a network
model containing different neuronal and astrocytic subpopulations. Energetic
constraints and regulatory mechanisms will be integrated in the network by
progressively increasing the complexity of astrocyteneuron metabolic
This project will make use of the newly developed Brian simulation tool
(http://brian.di.ens.fr/) and will be run in collaboration with Dr Romain
Brette at Ecole Normale Supérieure Paris who developed Brian.
- Strong theoretical background (mathematics, physics or equivalent).
- Knowledge of the Python programming language, MATLAB an asset.
- Basic knowledge of biology and neuroscience.
- Interested in combining theoretical tools with in vivo experiments to
address key questions in neuroscience.
- Fluent in English.
Please contact Dr Renaud Jolivet by e-mail at rjolivet at pharma.uzh.ch or by
phone at +41 44 255 3632. Further information about the group can be found
Dr Renaud Jolivet
Roche Research Fellow
University of Zurich
Institute of Pharmacology & Toxicology
University Hospital Zürich
Tel: +41 76 437 9798
rjolivet at pharma.uzh.ch
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