Postdoctoral Position: Epigenetic and Transcriptional Mechanisms of Brain Map Formation

FMI - Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research

Basel, Switzerland

A postdoctoral position is immediately available in the group of Prof. Filippo Rijli at the Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research (FMI). We apply a multidisciplinary experimental approach to investigate the epigenetic and transcriptional mechanisms of topographic circuit formation in the mouse brainstem. Current work addresses the in vivo regulation of the coordinated expression of Hox transcription factors in specific subsets of progenitors and neurons during migration and connectivity. Moreover, we are studying the functional role of selected epigenetic regulators. To this aim, we use ad hoc mouse genetic tools, imaging of fluorescently labeled neurons and axonal tracts, trans-synaptic viral tracing of defined subpopulations, in utero electroporation, molecular phenotype analysis of strains carrying specific mutations, and some behavioral readouts (Oury et al., Science 2006; Geisen et al., PLoS Biol 2008; Vitobello et al., Dev Cell 2011; Di Meglio et al., Science 2013; Bechara et al., Cell Reports 2015).

The proposed project aims at bridging neuronal circuit development and epigenetics and focuses on the regulation of neuronal identity and plasticity during topographic circuit assembly. The relay of sensory information from the external world is achieved through the assembly of topographic connectivity maps. However, the mechanisms allowing coordinated gene transcription underlying the establishment of point-to-point connectivity are still poorly understood. We are currently interested in mapping chromatin states in identified neuronal subsets during circuit formation. Available project(s) will focus on uncovering the epigenetic signature and regulation of neuronal enhancers involved in the development of trigeminal (whisker-to-barrel) and corticocerebellar somatosensory circuits in the mouse.

The successful candidate is interested in these topics and holds a recent PhD with significant expertise in chromatin analysis approaches (e.g. ChIP-seq, ATAC-Seq, 4C-seq). Candidates with strong backgrounds in molecular and/or functional aspects of circuit formation will also be considered. The position is funded for an initial period of 2 years, with the possibility of extension. A competitive salary and access to state-of-the-art research facilities will be provided.

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