PhD and Postdoctoral Research Projects
Funded PhD places are available though the departmental PhD program
Prospective graduate students should please visit the Biology departmental website Graduate “How to Apply” section.
PhD students can also register for The Interdisciplinary Graduate Neuroscience Concentration,
Postdoctoral applicants should contact Dr. Lewis directly.
Projects are available to investigate which regulatory genes are expressed by specific interneurons and/or the roles of specific regulatory genes in determining particular functional neuronal characteristics. Experiments may include:
- Investigating the functions of particular regulatory genes in interneuron specification by ectopically expressing mRNAs and/or knocking down gene function using mutants, or antisense oligonucleotides called morpholinos, and examining the effects on molecular markers and interneuron characteristics such as morphology and neurotransmitter expression.
- Observing the development and morphology of specific interneurons using confocal microscopy.
- Determining which regulatory genes are expressed by particular interneurons using in situ hybridisation and antibody stainings and/or FAC sorting and RNA/Seq analysis.
- Constructing lines of zebrafish in which Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) is expressed in cells that normally express a particular gene.
- Chip-Seq and RNA-Seq experiments to identify downstream targets of specific transcription factors with important roles in spinal cord neuronal specification.
- Protein interaction assays to identify binding partners of specific transcription factors with important roles in spinal cord neuronal specification.
- Using calcium indicators such as genetically encoded calcium indicators Chameleon and GCamp to monitor the electrical activity of specific neurons in wild-type and experimental embryos during particular behaviours.
- Determining the expression patterns of spinal cord genes in other vertebrates such as dogfish (a type of shark) to learn about spinal cord evolution.
Projects are also available to investigate the role of environmental contaminants in increasing the risk of seizures, using zebrafish larvae as a model organism. Experiments include:
- Examining the morphology of zebrafish embryos and larvae after exposure to specific environmental contaminants.
- Using a PTZ model of seizure to assess whether zebrafish larvae exposed to specific environmental contaminants seize more often than control larvae.
- Observing the development and morphology of specific neurons in embryos and larvae exposed to environmental contaminants compared to controls.
- Determining whether specific genes are altered in their expression in embryos and larvae exposed to environmental contaminants using in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry and/or FAC sorting and RNA/Seq analysis.