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Study opportunities

Available positions in Sadegh Nabavi's lab 

Sadegh Nabavi's lab

Example of a current/available student project(s) (Bachelor/Master/PhD) with a headline + 2 sentences describing the project:

Investigating the cellular mechanism of forgetting: Does synaptic potentiation recover memory loss?

This project is based on the broader frame of an experimental line in the lab about forgetting and the cellular and synaptic mechanisms underlying it; in this project we aim to explain what occurs at the synaptic level when a memory is forgotten, and how can this process be manipulated. The student will aim to describe whether the induction of synaptic potentiation can recover a forgotten memory. This project involves behavior, electrophysiology and optogenetics in the freely moving animal.

Investigating the circuit mechanisms underlying an innate fear

The amygdala is known to process learned fears. Recent data from our lab suggest that the amygdala is also engaged in processing innate fear. This raises a dilemma: How the same regions can process two qualitatively different types of information, one requires learning,  the other evolutionary hard-wired in our brain.

The student will investigate whether overlapping  neurons within the amygdala process both information. The project involves, behavior, in vivo imaging, brain circuit mapping, optogenetics, immunohistochemistry, and confocal microscopy.   

Investigating the mechanisms underlying formation of long-lasting memories

Not all memories are created equal: some last a lifetime while others are lost soon after they are formed. What are the causes of this difference? The ultimate aim of this project is to understand the electrophysiological properties as well as the proteins that contribute to the formation of long-lived. The student will work on this project under the umbrella of the center for proteins in memory, PROMEMO.  The project relies on variety of techniques, particularly behavior, optogenetics, electrophysiology, biochemistry, immunohistochemistry, and confocal microscopy. 

Lab background:

Synaptic plasticity is an indisputable candidate for learning and memory. For this reason, a large body of works is devoted to the mechanisms underlying plasticity, with the majority of these works take in vitro preparation as their working model. However, many behavioral phenomena either can not be studied in slice preparation or are inconsistent with the findings. The main theme of our research is to understand the rules that govern synaptic plasticity in vivo, in respect to associative learning. We will give a particular emphasize to the types of associative learnings (and forgetting!) that can not be reconciled with the currents models that are inspired by in vitro studies. Our investigation is confined between synaptic and circuit levels. For the behavioral model, we take a reductionist approach, that is we study only the associative learnings that can be monitored and manipulated at the cellular and synaptic scales in rodents. Although we remain focused at the level of the questions, we do not confine ourselves to a particular set of techniques. In vitro and in vivo electrophysiology as well as in vitro and in vivo imaging and brain-circuit mapping will be indispensable to our investigation 

 

Methods:

·        In vivo and in vitro electrophysiology

·        In vivo and in vitro imaging

o   Confocal imaging

o   2-photon laser scanning microscopy

o   Fiber photometry

o   miniaturized fluorescence microscope imaging

·        Optogenetics and behavior

·        Rodent surgery

·        Virus-mediated circuit mapping

·        Immunohistochemistry

 

The successful applicant is:

Very motivated student with passion for science, who is willing to commit to the requirements of behavioural research.

Can work in a team and communicate to others, but also be independent.

Doesn’t necessarily need any experience in the described techniques, only the will of learning, patience, and perseverance.