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What is the role of neurogliaform cells in habenular neural circuitry?

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  • Full or part time
    Dr C Wozny
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Neurogliaform cells (NGFCs) constitute a class of inhibitory GABAergic neurons with unique features
(for review see Overstreet-Wadiche and McBain, 2015). The neurotransmitter GABA is released from
the axonal endings of a NGFC into the extracellular space in a volume transmission-like manner to
generate (mainly) non-specific GABAergic responses in any neuronal and non-neuronal targetstructure
in the vicinity of the axonal endings. Interestingly, NGFCs have been found in the neocortex
and the hippocampus, but also in the striatum and in the lateral habenula (Weiss and Veh, 2011).

The lateral habenula is known to be associated with various neuropsychiatric disorders including
mood disorders (e.g. Li et al., 2011, and Shabel et al., 2014). The habenular neuronal microcircuitry,
however, is not well understood (e.g. Wagner et al., 2014).

In this project we aim to perform multiple patch-clamp recordings (Wozny and Williams, 2011) to
characterise the synaptic connections between various types of neurons in the lateral habenula. Aside
from electrophysiological recordings in rodent brain slices the project further includes
immunohistochemistry, neuronal reconstructions and optogenetics.

The successful applicant will join a recently established research team with interests in studying neural
microcircuits utilising cutting edge techniques such as optogenetics and electrophysiology to further enhance our understanding of the role of various types of neurons in neuropsychiatric disorders. In addition, you will join a thriving SIPBS postgraduate community ( with over 150 students originating from all corners of the globe.

A successful applicant has an excellent degree in neuroscience, biology, biophysics or a thematically associated field and shows enthusiasm for performing basic research in cellular neurobiology. Hands-on experience in electrophysiology would be beneficial. Please send your application (cover letter, CV, certificates and the names/addresses of two referees) in one combined pdf-document per email to: Dr Christian Wozny ([Email Address Removed]).

Funding Notes

This project is a 3-year PhD Studentship funded by the University of Strathclyde that provides
full support for tuition fees and an annual tax-free stipend at standard RCUK rates. The PhD is open to UK and
EU nationals.


1. Li B, Piriz J, Mirrione M, Chung C, Proulx CD, Schulz D, Henn F,
Malinow R. Nature. 2011 Feb 24;470(7335):535-9.
2. Overstreet-Wadiche L, McBain CJ. Nat Rev Neurosci. 2015
3. Shabel SJ, Proulx CD, Piriz J, Malinow R. Science. 2014 Sep
4. Wagner F, French L, Veh RW. Brain Struct Funct. 2014 Sep 23.
[Epub ahead of print]
5. Weiss T, Veh RW. Neuroscience. 2011 Jan 13;172:74-93.
6. Wozny C, Williams SR. Cereb Cortex. 2011 Aug;21(8):1818-26.

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