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Developmental timing and critical periods for the treatment of neurological disorders

Project Description

A PhD student is required to join a collaborative project to investigate how neural activity, during an embryonic critical period, affects the development of a locomotor circuit. Our previous work shows that activity-manipulation during this period is sufficient to prevent epileptogenesis. You will use Drosophila genetics to drive expression of a range of optogenetic tools and use light to impose activity regimes during defined periods of embryogenesis. The consequence to synaptic connectivity in the larval locomotor circuit will be determined by electrophysiology (e.g. measuring synaptic drive to, and membrane excitability of motoneurons) and by imaging of network activity using voltage-sensitive reporters (GEVIs). This is a collaborative project, funded by the Wellcome Trust, between Manchester and Cambridge (Dr Matthias Landgraf). The focus in Manchester is on function whilst Cambridge will focus on anatomical connectivity and modelling. There will be considerable opportunity to develop the project through regular interactions with the Cambridge team. The post will suit an individual with specific interest in how neural circuits develop and the role of activity in shaping the functional properties of developing networks.

Information about the lab group the position will be based in:

Informal enquiries can be made to Prof Richard Baines
Tel: 0161 275 5365

Entry Requirements
Applicants are expected to hold a minimum upper second class undergraduate degree (or equivalent) in Neuroscience, physiology or a related area. A Master’s degree and/or work experience in a relevant subject area is desirable.

Funding Notes

Funding for this PhD is linked to the vacancy advertised here View Website. If you are interested in this PhD you must apply for the vacancy in the first instance.

As an equal opportunities institution we welcome applicants from all sections of the community regardless of gender, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation and transgender status. All appointments are made on merit.


Giachello CN, Baines RA. (2017) Regulation of motoneuron excitability and the setting of homeostatic limits. Curr Opin Neurobiol. 43:1-6. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2016.09.014. Epub 2016 Oct 6. PMID: 27721083

Giachello CN, Baines RA. (2015) Inappropriate Neural Activity during a Sensitive Period in Embryogenesis Results in Persistent Seizure-like Behavior. Curr Biol. 2015 Nov 16;25(22):2964-8. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2015.09.040. Epub 2015 Nov 5. PMID: 26549258

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