Learning to walk without the brain

Leuven - Master projects/internships
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More than two weeks ago

We aim to achieve unprecedented neuronal recording and manipulation in real-time from a walking mouse using ultra-flexible probe implanted in the spinal cord.

Plasticity in sensorimotor circuits is the basis of motor learning during development and after central nervous system trauma. Spinal cord injury disintegrates functional sensorimotor ensembles by disconnecting circuits below lesion from the rest of the nervous system. While an incomplete lesion is often associated with partial functional recovery, our lack of knowledge of the genetic identity, precise anatomical connectivity, and function of the participating circuit components poses a great challenge to understand and intervene in the process of motor recovery. Our aim is to achieve unprecedented neuronal recording and manipulation in real-time from a walking mouse using ultra-flexible probe implanted in the spinal cord. Using combined methods of mouse genetic engineering and viral technologies, we aim to reveal neuronal activity of non-injured and injured spinal cord circuits in real-time during walking in a neuronal population specific manner with phase-specific temporal precision. Successful completion of the study will lead to a methodological development to focally target and stimulate populations in the spinal cord to enable locomotor functionality after spinal cord injury.​

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Type of project: Internship, Thesis, Combination of internship and thesis

Duration: 6 months to 1 year

Required degree: Master of Engineering Technology, Master of Engineering Science, Master of Bioengineering

Required background: Biomedical engineering, Bioscience Engineering, Electromechanical engineering, Electrotechnics/Electrical Engineering, Materials Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Nanoscience & Nanotechnology

Supervising scientist(s): For further information or for application, please contact: Aya Takeoka (Aya.Takeoka@nerf.be)

Imec allowance will be provided

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