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Investigating Mechanisms of Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD).

ABG-100578 Thesis topic
2021-10-13 Public/private mixed funding
Université Laval
Quebec - Canada
Investigating Mechanisms of Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD).
  • Biochemistry
  • Psychology, neurosciences
RNA-binding proteins, synapse, RNA translation, mitochondria, cell signaling

Topic description

The Sephton lab (https://cervo.ulaval.ca/en/chantelle-f-sephton) is seeking to recruit highly motivated PhD students interested in studying the mechanism by which mitochondrial dysfunction occurs in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD). Synaptic dysfunction is a common hallmark of ALS and FTD and it occurs long before neuronal loss. The maintenance of healthy synapses is partially dependent on their ability to perform high energy cost processes such as synaptic vesicle recycling, release and neurotransmitter uptake. As such, mitochondria are positioned at synapses to meet these energy demands. Recent discoveries indicate that synaptic mitochondrial dysfunction contributes to the pathogenesis of ALS and FTD, but the mechanism by which this occurs is not known. The aim of this project is to define how disease-linked RNA-Binding Proteins contribute to mitochondrial dysfunction and synaptic loss.

The PhD candidate will be trained to use different animal and cell-culture models of ALS and FTD. The candidate will use multifaceted approaches in their research employing transcriptomic and proteomic approaches to studying mitochondrial and synaptic function. Behavioral studies will be paired with morpho-functional assessments using 3D neural reconstruction and mitochondrial bioenergetic measurements. Parallel assessment of mitochondrial function synaptic composition will be determined using Western blotting, quantitative-PCR and confocal imaging.


The PhD candidate will oversee the animal, biochemical and molecular experiments, write scientific manuscripts and present results in national and international conferences. Applicants should have a solid background in biochemistry, cell biology and molecular techniques as well as have a strong enthusiasm for neurosciences. The successful applicant will join the program of Neuroscience at Laval University in Québec City and will integrate a multidisciplinary team of experts in molecular, cellular and integrative neuroscience located at the CERVO Brain Research Center.


Funding category

Public/private mixed funding

Funding further details

Presentation of host institution and host laboratory

Université Laval

Dr. Chantelle Sephton is seeking to recruit highly motivated students who want to join the Integrative Neuroscience Group at the CERVO Brain Research Center at Université Laval, Quebec City, Canada, https://cervo.ulaval.ca/en/chantelle-f-sephton

The CERVO Brain Research Center is a leading multi-disciplinary research and training environment with >40 laboratories and over >250 trainees and staff pursuing basic and clinical neuroscience research. It offers transdisciplinary environment with state-of-the-art facilities aiming to understand the Central Nervous System at the molecular, cellular, systems and clinical levels in normal and pathological states. CERVO is located in Quebec City, one of the oldest cities in North America and a UNESCO World Heritage travel destination. As a cultural center of North America, Quebec City is an affordable city with a European flair. The city is embedded in a region rich in nature that offers an abundance of outdoor summer and winter activities. The Sephton lab is a young dynamic and multilingual team, and seeking to add highly motivated individuals to our group.




PhD title

Doctorat de neurobiologie

Country where you obtained your PhD


Institution awarding doctoral degree

Universite Laval

Graduate school

Candidate's profile

Applicants should have a Master’s of Science (M.Sc.) in Biochemistry, Neuroscience, Cellular and Molecular Biology or a related field to be considered for this position.

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