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About the Project

A fully-funded four year PhD student position in Neuroscience is available in Dr Shamik DasGupta’s lab at the University of Bristol from September 2020.
In this project, we aim to understand the computational roles of the neurons that express the transcription factor FoxP in the adult Drosophila brain. FOXP2, a member of the FoxP family, was the first gene to be linked with heritable speech and language disorders in humans. Since then, members of the FoxP family has been shown to play critical roles in cognitive processes in a wide variety of organisms, ranging from decision-making in fruit flies to vocal communication in birds, rodents and primates, and cognitive processes in humans. However, the roles of FoxP in the adult brain remains unclear. You will use genetic, transcriptomic and multiphoton-imaging based approaches and combine them with cutting-edge behavioural analysis in virtual-reality arenas to explore the link between gene expression, neural activity and behaviour. You will be involved in the entire work from experimental design, experimentation, data analysis and, depending on interest, computational interpretation in models.

Altered gene expression plays critical roles in several cognitive disorders –understanding the functions of these ’cognitive genes’ in an evolutionarily distant organism like Drosophila will help to unravel how gene expression sculpted the evolution of our own cognition and its neural basis.

Experimental Approaches:

Behavioural analysis in virtual-reality arenas, 2-photon imaging, electrophysiology, genetics.

Funding Notes

This is a 4 year fully funded studentship, open to UK and EU nationals only.

PLEASE APPLY: View Website

When applying online please ensure that you select the Faculty of Life Sciences, School of Physiology and Pharmacology PhD.

References

Representative Publications:

Groschner, L.N, Wah Hak, L.C., Bogacz, R., DasGupta, S.*, and Miesenböck, G* (2018). Dendritic integration of sensory evidence in perceptual decision-making. Cell 173, 894 - 905.

DasGupta, S., Ferreira, C.H., and Miesenböck, G. (2014). FoxP influences the speed and accuracy of a perceptual decision in Drosophila. Science 344, 901–904.

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