Join the lab
You can contact me if you are looking for a Master project. I occasionally have funding for a postdoc, otherwise there are possibilities of external funding, including:
For a PhD, I usually recruit students that I have worked with for a Master project, although exceptions are possible.
Currently, I am focusing on two topics.
The first topic is the development of spike initiation theory in neurons, where spikes are initiated at the axon initial segment. I am especially interested in developing models of structural plasticity of the axonal initial segment: the initial segment moves as a function of activity and development, and this has some impact on electrical function. My current view is that the phenomenon regulates spike backpropagation to the soma, rather than excitability. I am also interested in the modulation of excitability by synapses at the initial segment (formed by Chandelier cells on pyramidal cells). To study these questions, we have developed a branch of cable theory called resistive coupling theory (Goethals & Brette, 2020; Kole & Brette, 2018), which can be used to make quantitative predictions that can be verified experimentally (see e.g. Hamada et al., 2016; Goethals et al., 2021; Fekete et al., 2021). On this theme, we collaborate with several experimental neurophysiologists.
The second topic is the development of an integrative model of Paramecium, a “swimming neuron” (Brette, 2021): with collaborators in Paris, we are trying to develop integrative models of this unicellular organism, which is sensitive to various sensory modalities and uses spikes to change direction. To this end, we are doing electrophysiology as well as behavioral experiments (tracking). The subject is very rich. Here is a list of ideas for a Master project on Paramecium, which can be experimental and/or theoretical:
- Mechanisms of Paramecium escape from a capillary
- Paramecium chemotaxis
- Mechanisms of Paramecium contact reaction
- Behavioral tracking of Paramecium with deep learning
- Modeling Paramecium mechanosensitivity
- Modeling Paramecium obstacle avoidance
- Conditioning Paramecium with sound
- Mechanisms of Paramecium tube escape learning
Contact me for more information (please send a CV).