ENC PhD projects cycle 3

Projects cycle 3 started

For the 3rd cycle of this Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctorate program, we have selected 8 students. They started their work in the Fall of 2012. On this page you can find links to more information about the 8 projects of cycle 3.

Project 1: Activity Contrast Imaging in dendritic networks in the brain

PhD student: Camille Okom, France
Home Institute: European Neuroscience Institute Göttingen; Principle Investigator: Detlev Schild
Host Institute: Amsterdam Neuroscience; Principle Investigator: Huib Mansvelder

Neurons operate within highly ordered structural networks in the brain using precisely-timed patterns of activity. These activity patterns are mediated by synapses made across the dendrites of each neuron. Synaptic activity is integrated in the dendrites and if strong enough, induces a neuron to fire action potentials and activate its neuronal neighbours in the network. Morphological abnormalities … >Go to Executive Summery

Project 2: Genetic and cellular dissection of the role of the planar cell polarity protein Vangl2 in the development of the hippocampus

PhD student: Steve Carvalho, Portugal
Home Institute: Bordeaux Neurocampus; Principle Investigator: Mireille Montcouquiol
Host Institutes:
Neuroscience Center Zürich; Principle Investigator: Esther Stoeckli
Center for Neuroscience and Cell Biology, University of Coimbra, Portugal; Principle Investigator: Carlos Duarte

The planar cell polarity (PCP) signalling pathway was first identified in the fruit fly Drosophila, where it controls the uniform orientation of hairs and bristles on the body, perpendicular to the apical-basal axis. If the role for epithelial apical-basal determinants in the establishment of neuronal polarity is now accepted, the importance … >Go to Executive Summery

Project 3: The neuronal code in association cortex

PhD student: Hemanth Mohan, India
Home Institute: Amsterdam Neuroscience; Principle Investigator: Christiaan de Kock
Host Institutes:
European Neuroscience Center Zürich; Principle Investigator: Fritjof Helmchen
Neuroscience Institute Göttingen; Principle Investigator: Jochen Staiger

The computational power of cortical areas is embedded in the vast copy number of the characteristic processing unit: “the cortical column”. The basic design of the cortical column shows multiple layers and each layer contains different cell types (Fig.1). These cell types are characterized by distinct dendritic branching patterns, different inputs, and precise output projections and therefore almost certainly serve specific functions. >Go to Executive Summery

 Project 4: Molecular basis of vulnerability to addiction

PhD student: Yongmei Sun, China
Home Institute: Amsterdam Neuroscience; Principle Investigator: Sabine Spijker
Host Institute: Bordeaux Neurocampus; Principle Investigator: Pier-Vincenzo Piazza / Véronique Deroche-Gamonet

Drug addiction causes severe health problems and has substantial socio-economic impact. Unfortunately, its treatment is hampered by high relapse rates even after months of abstinence. A major cause for relapse is the exposure to stimuli, both contextual and discrete, that over time become associated with the rewarding substance. Such stimuli evoke memories of the rewarding effects, induce craving … >Go to Executive Summery

Project 5: Regulation of receptor recycling by synaptotagmins in neuronal dendrites

PhD student: Julia Krapivkina, Russia
Home Institute: Bordeaux Neurocampus; Principle Investigator: David Perrais
Host Institute: European Neuroscience Institute Göttingen; Principle Investigator: Camin Dean

A central problem in neurobiology is to understand how cells of the nervous system are organized in a functional network. Neurons must be able to connect each other through synapses and process the information they receive. To achieve this goal, neuronal dendrites possess an elaborate endosomal system, through which receptors are recycled to and from the post-synaptic membrane. >Go to Executive Summery

Project 6: Excitatory Synaptic Vesicle Tracking Using Fluorescent VGLUT1 Tagging in Mice

PhD student: Xiaomin Zhang, China
Home Institute: Bordeaux Neurocampus; Principle Investigator: Etienne Herzog
Host Institute: European Neuroscience Institute Göttingen; Principle Investigator: Nils Brose

The vesicular glutamate transporter VGLUT1 loads synaptic vesicles (SV) with the neurotransmitter glutamate at many synapses in the mammalian brain. Due to its function and selective localization, VGLUT1 is one of the most specific markers for glutamatergic synaptic vesicles. It has been used widely to identify glutamatergic synapses, and its expression levels are tightly correlated with changes in quantal size (Wojcik et al., PNAS, 2004; Wilson et al., J. Neurosci 2005), modulations of … >Go to Executive Summery

Project 7: Understanding blood-brain barrier alterations underlying capillary amyloid angiopathy: a route to novel diagnostics?

PhD student: Hripsime Snkhchyan, Armenia
Home Institute: Amsterdam Neuroscience; Principle Investigator: Elga de Vries / Annemieke Rozemuller
Host Institutes:
Neuroscience Center Zürich; Principle Investigator: Roger Nitsch
Bordeaux Neurocampus; Principle Investigator: Klaus Petry

Cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA) is frequently observed in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and is marked by deposition of amyloid beta (Aβ) in leptomeningeal and cortical brain vasculature. In over 40% of AD cases, Aβ mainly accumulates in cortical capillaries, a phenomenon referred to as capillary CAA (capCAA), a subtype of CAA. Previously, we have shown that a strong neuroinflammatory … >Go to Executive Summery

Project 8: Membrane trafficking in the maintenance of dendritic spine morphology – implications for Alzheimer’s Disease

PhD student: Vinod Udayar, India
Home Institute: Neuroscience Center Zürich; Principle Investigator: Lawrence Rajendran
Host Institutes:
Bordeaux Neurocampus; Principle Investigator: Valentin Nägerl
Amsterdam Neuroscience; Principle Investigator: Philip Scheltens

The human brain is a network of billions of nerve cells that communicate through specialized connections called synapses. Changes in the strength of these synapses, termed synaptic plasticity, are essential for learning and memory. Synaptic dysfunction is the major cause of neurodegeneration and cognitive decline observed in age-related disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD). >Go to Executive Summary


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