ENC PhD projects cycle 4

Projects cycle 4 started

For the 4th cycle of this Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctorate program, we have selected 8 students. They started their work in the Fall of 2013. On this page you can find links to more information about the 8 projects of cycle 4.

Project 1: Plasticity of local CA3 circuits in mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease: involvement of epigenetic mechanisms

Pei ZhangPhD student: Pei Zhang, China
Home Institute: Bordeaux Neurocampus; Principle Investigator: Christophe Mulle
Host Institute: European Neuroscience Institute Göttingen; Principle Investigator: Fischer, André

In the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), there is a strong correlation between memory impairment and cortical levels of soluble amyloid-ß peptide oligomers (Aßo). Elevated levels of Aßo disrupt glutamatergic synaptic function, which in turn may lead to the characteristic cognitive deficits. Experiments in rodents have conforted the notion that Aßo impair synaptic transmission and plasticity, and that mouse models with increased production of these oligomers …>Go to Executive Summery

Project 2: Nanoscale imaging of the tripartite synapse in vivo

Mirelle-ter-Veer-smallPhD student: Mireille ter Veer, Netherlands
Home Institute: Bordeaux Neurocampus; Principle Investigator: Valentin Nägerl
Host Institute: Neuroscience Center Zürich; Principle Investigator: to be defined
2nd Host Institute: European Neuroscience Institute Göttingen; Principle Investigator: Detlev Schild

Research on glia cells, in particular astrocytes in the brain, has in recent years led to a thorough reappraisal of their role for brain function, extending greatly beyond the classic view as mere providers of structural and nutritional support to neurons. The concept of the “tripartite synapse”, composed of neuronal and astrocytic elements, recognizes the important role that astrocytes are thought to play for regulating information transfer at synapses in the central nervous …>Go to Executive Summery

Project 3: Mapping the synaptic gene networks governing tomosyn-dependent regulation of neurotransmission

Bourgeois-Quentin-smallPhD student: Quentin Bourgeois, France
Home Institute:Amsterdam Neuroscience; Principle Investigator: Sander Groffen
Host Institute: European Neuroscience Institute Göttingen; Principle Investigator: J.S. Rhee

The secretory strength of synapses in the brain is continuously adapted to establish memory traces and maintain network stability under a wide range of environmental conditions. Synaptic dysregulation is observed in many brain disorders, also referred to as synaptopathies, including schizophrenia, autism, major depression disorder, movement disorders and epilepsy. A key step in synaptic release is the assembly of syntaxin, SNAP25 and synaptobrevin into the … >Go to Executive Summery

Project 4: Role of adenosine A2A receptors in the control of synaptic plasticity in the prefrontal cortex – relevance for attention deficit and hyperactivity disorders

Amber KerkhofsPhD student: Amber Kerkhofs, Netherlands
Home Institute: Center for Neurosciences and Cell Biology Coimbra; Principle Investigator: Rodrigo Cunha
Host Institute: Amsterdam Neuroscience; Principle Investigator: Huib Mansvelder        2nd Host Institute:Bordeaux Neurocampus; Principle Investigator: To be defined

Caffeine is the most widely consumed psychoactive drug worldwide; its only known molecular targets at non-toxic doses are adenosine receptors, namely the antagonism of adenosine A2A receptors (A2AR) when consumed chronically. Caffeine and A2AR antagonists have been shown to attenuate different neuropsychiatric disorders resulting from abnormal plastic changes of different brain circuits, such as depression, Alzheimer’s disease (affecting limbic circuits) or Parkinson’s disease (affecting striatal circuits). Caffeine has also been therapeutically exploited to … >Go to Executive Summery

Project 5: Towards a non-invasive approach to evaluate abnormal network oscillations in Parkinsons’s Disease: combined tACS and fMRI studies

kathleen-williams-smallPhD student: Kathleen Williams, United States
Home Institute: European Neuroscience Institute Göttingen; Principle Investigator: Melanie Wilke / Mathias Bähr
Host Institute: Neuroscience Center Zürich; Principle Investigator: Achermann, Peter
2nd Host Institute: Amsterdam Neuroscience; Principle Investigator: Henk Berendse

Recent advances of functional imaging and network analysis techniques have led to the broad consensus that cognitive deficits that occur in the course of neurodegenerative disorders are not only due to circumscribed lesions in specialized brain structures, but are also due to disruptions of functional networks1. Parkinson’s disease (PD) is one of these common age-related disabling disorders characterized by the well known motor symptoms (rigor, tremor, hypokinesia) but also by … >Go to Executive Summery

Project 6: Targeting the brain microvasculature: solving the puzzle of Alzheimer disease?

Ananya ChakrabortyPhD student: Ananya Chakraborty, India
Home Institute: Amsterdam Neuroscience; Principle Investigator: Elga de Vries / Wiesje van der Flier
Host Institute: Neuroscience Center Zürich; Principle Investigator: Nitsch, Roger
2nd Host Institute: Bordeaux Neurocampus; Principle Investigator: Klaus, Petry

Neuropathological hallmarks of Alzheimer disease (AD) are senile plaques containing amyloid-beta and neurofibrillary tangles, consisting of hyperphosphorylated tau. In addition, cerebrovascular disease plays a profound role in AD However, it remains unknown how the amyloid-initiated processes interact with vascular pathology. Based on MRI research, the occurrence of microbleeds, present in roughly 25% of AD patients, is suggested to link these two … >Go to Executive Summery

Project 7: Role of P2Y1R in mossy fiber sprouting – new strategies to arrest epileptogenesis

Xin-Li-XuPhD student: Xin-Li Xu, China
Home Institute: Center for Neurosciences and Cell Biology Coimbra; Principle Investigator: Rodrigues, Ricardo
Host Institute: Bordeaux Neurocampus; Principle Investigator: Rebola, Nelson

Several brain disorders involve developmental defects and hence can be explored from the perspective of recapitulating developmental features. Using this rationale, we recently found that glutamate, a major player during seizures, promotes axonal outgrowth and formation of aberrant axons through PKC-GSK3β-CRMP2 pathway in developing hippocampal neurons. We also found in a model of temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) that this pathway is reactivated, … >Go to Executive Summery

Project 8: Role of olfactory bulb excitatory interneurons in odor processing and adult bulbar neurogenesis

Dorina-FrasheriPhD student: Dorina Frasheri, Albania
Home Institute: Neuroscience Center Zürich; Principle Investigator: Olivier Raineteau
Host Institute: Bordeaux Neurocampus; Principle Investigator: Muriel Koehl
2nd Host Institute: Amsterdam Neuroscience; Principle Investigator: Wilma van de Berg

The rodent olfactory bulb (OB) is a model system for studying how neuronal circuits develop and maintain. Olfactory receptor neurons in the main olfactory epithelium project their axons to glomerular structures in the OB. There, they synapse onto the dendrites of mitral and tufted cells that relay odour information to higher brain centres. In the OB, odour information is processed by … >Go to Executive Summery

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