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PhD position: Dopaminergic control of locomotor circuits

ABG-110461 Thesis topic
2023-01-25 Public/private mixed funding
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Université de Sherbrooke
Sherbrooke - Canada
PhD position: Dopaminergic control of locomotor circuits
  • Psychology, neurosciences
Dopamine, neuroscience, locomotion

Topic description

The locomotor role of dopaminergic cells is classically attributed to their ascending projections to the basal ganglia that project to brainstem locomotor circuits. However, descending projections to brainstem locomotor circuits were uncovered (Ryczko et al. PNAS 2013, PNAS 2016, J Neurosci 2017, J Neurosci 2020). In lamprey, this descending pathway increases locomotor activity. In mammals, the role of such innervation remains to be determined.
The student will address this issue in mice using in vivo optogenetics, fiber photometry, movement analysis, patch-clamp electrophysiology, calcium imaging, and viral tracing. The new knowledge will provide a better understanding of the relation between dopaminergic and locomotor neurons and help identify new clinical strategies to improve locomotor function in Parkinson’s disease.

Starting date


Funding category

Public/private mixed funding

Funding further details

Canadian Institute for Health Research

Presentation of host institution and host laboratory

Université de Sherbrooke

HOST LABORATORY: Pr. Ryczko has expertise in the neural control of locomotion and published research in excellent journals (PNAS, Science, Journal of Neuroscience…). The lab receives grant support by the CIHR, NSERC, FRQS, CFI and ERC. We are equipped for optogenetics, viral injections, patch-clamp recordings, confocal and two photon calcium imaging, high-resolution movement analysis based on deep learning, and microscopy (confocal, light-sheet, two-photon, STED). Sherbrooke is located at the heart of the Canadian nature and offers one of the best quality of life in Canada.

PhD title

Doctorat en Physiologie

Country where you obtained your PhD


Institution awarding doctoral degree

Université de Sherbrooke

Candidate's profile

REQUIREMENTS: The candidate should have obtained a master's degree in neuroscience. An asset for the candidate would be to have experience in optogenetics, electrophysiology or calcium imaging, and a keen interest in motor control.

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