Integrated impact of insulin signaling on nutritional state-dependent behaviour in Drosophila

   Department of Biosciences

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  Dr Vincent Croset  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Insulin signaling plays a pivotal role in various physiological processes, including metabolism, energy homeostasis, and growth. Increasing evidence points to an expanded role for insulin to inform behaviour according to the nutritional state of an organism. Taking advantage of the powerful genetic tools and behavioural paradigms available in Drosophila, this project aims to unravel the role of insulin signaling in nutritional state-dependent behaviour, providing insights into the molecular mechanisms governing the integration of internal physiological states with behavioural output.

The project:

The student will generate and use genetic tools to manipulate the expression of the four insulin-like peptides expressed in the fly brain, as well as the insulin receptor, with cellular resolution. State-of-the-art behavioural assays will assess the impact of altered signaling on feeding, drinking, locomotion, sleep patterns, and memory, with the goal of developing a systems understanding of how insulin modulates neuronal circuits across the brain. qPCR, transcriptomic analyses, and immunohistochemistry will be employed to measure changes in gene expression and protein levels associated with defects in insulin signaling.


This research will help decipher the intricate connections between insulin signaling and behaviour. Insights from this study will have implications for understanding related processes in more complex organisms, including humans.

Research Environment:

The work will take place in the group of Dr Vincent Croset in the Department of Biosciences at Durham University. The successful applicant will have the opportunity to work in a vibrant scientific environment and learn essential skills to prepare them for a career in research. They will learn about brain physiology, behaviour, anatomy and histology, genetics, and molecular biology. They will also acquire transferrable soft skills in oral and written scientific communication, critical scientific thinking, and good laboratory practice, including organisation, planning and the ethics of science.

Applicant Requirements:

While prior experience in neurobiology or Drosophila work is desirable, the primary emphasis will be placed on curiosity and motivation.

How to Apply:

If you are interested in applying, please contact the main supervisor at [Email Address Removed] with a CV, and a covering letter detailing your reasons for applying for the project. 

Biological Sciences (4) Food Sciences (15) Medicine (26)

Funding Notes

One applicant (worldwide eligibility) will be selected by the main supervisor to be put forward for consideration for a Durham Doctoral Scholarship. An additional scheme from the Chinese Scholarships Council is available for Chinese nationals (note the earlier 18th December deadline for this). Both are competitive schemes and success will depend on the quality of applications received, relative to those for competing projects. Self-funded students will also be considered.
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