This highly multidisciplinary project will combine cutting-edge approaches including human pluripotent stem cell technology, mouse brain transplantation, electrophysiology, two-photon cellular imaging in vivo, optogenetics, and viral tracing.
The project will be undertaken in active collaboration with the Vision-to-Action Laboratory (Vincent Bonin, PI) at Neuro-Electronics Research Flanders in Leuven, Belgium, (NERF).
Using a combination of patch-clamp recordings and in vivo functional imaging, the candidate will investigate the function and plasticity of human cortical pyramidal neurons xenotransplanted in the mouse brain. This technology was pioneered in the Vanderhaeghen lab (Gaspard Nature 2008; Espuny-Camacho Neuron 2013; Neuron 2017; Cell Reports 2018) and constitutes a unique in vivo model to gain insights on human-specific features of cortical neurons, from their developmental patterns to functional integration into neural circuits. It is also used to model specific human brain diseases and to explore the rational design of brain repair targeting the neocortex.