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 role of Hox transcription factors in specific subsets of progenitors and neurons during migration and connectivity. Moreover, we study the involvement 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, genome-wide chromatin and transcriptional analysis of selected subsets of progenitors and neurons (selected references: Oury et al., Science 2006; Di Meglio et al., Science 2013; Bechara et al., Cell Reports 2015; Karmakar et al., Cell Reports 2017; Minoux et al. Science 2017).
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 sensory circuit formation. Available project(s) will focus on uncovering the epigenetic signature and regulation of activity-dependent neuronal enhancers involved in the development of trigeminal (whisker-to-barrel) and corticocerebellar somatosensory circuits in the mouse.
The successful candidate will be interested in these topics and hold a recent PhD with significant expertise in chromatin analysis approaches (e.g. ChIP-seq, ATAC-Seq, 4C-seq). Candidates with strong background 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 possibility of extension. A competitive salary and access to state-of-the-art research facilities will be provided.