During the past decade a growing body of evidence has accumulated to indicate that glial cells, and in particular astrocytes, play active roles in the modulation of neuronal excitability and in the generation of neuronal synchrony. The consequences of astrocytes-to-neuron signalling pathway on neuronal network function in vivo are however unknown. In the proposed project I will use an inter-disciplinary approach to test the hypothesis that astrocytes, by releasing the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate, modulate the neuronal network response to sensory stimuli in vivo.
Specifically by using a combination of two-photon microscopy and electrophysiology applied to layer 2/3 of the somatosensory cortex, I will determine whether sensory inputs applied through whisker movements activate glial Ca2+ signalling and whether activated astrocytes trigger glutamate release to synchronize group of cortical neurons. Furthermore, I will use a transgenic mouse model, in which glutamate release from astrocytes is reduced, t o determine the role of astrocytes in the modulation of sensory-evoked neuronal activity.
This fellowship experience will give me the opportunity to learn a variety of new techniques for the study of cell physiology in the intact nervous system, which I will combine with my previous electrophysiological research experience on in vitro and in situ preparations. This experience will complete my broad interdisciplinary training that will permit to seek my independent position in which I set up my own research laboratory.
Field of science
- /natural sciences/biological sciences/neurobiology
Call for proposal
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