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.
Using flexible electrode technology available at imec, the aim of the project is to reveal neuronal activity of non-injured and injured spinal cord circuits in real-time during walking in a neuronal population specific manner in an unprecedented resolution. In this project we will use combined methods of mouse genetic engineering and viral technologies to identify neuronal populations involved in a given locomotor task with phase-specific temporal precision. Interns/students' responsibilities will include implementation of surgical techinique for stimulation/recording electrodes, behavioral training, kinematic recording and analyses as well as briding between collaborating technology teams and the Takeoka lab's neuroscience circuit expertise.
Type of project: Internship, Thesis, Combination of internship and thesis
Duration: Minimum 6 months
Required degree: Master of Engineering Technology, Master of Engineering Science, Master of Bioengineering
Required background: Materials Engineering, Bioscience Engineering, Biomedical engineering, Electromechanical engineering
Supervising scientist(s): For further information or for application, please contact: Aya Takeoka (Aya.Takeoka@nerf.be)
Imec allowance will be provided for students studying at a non-Belgian university.