IBDM - Proposition sujet de thèse

Subject: Our body hosts billions of bacteria that colonize our skin our lungs and our gut. The beneficial effects of some of these microorganisms on the development and functioning of these body parts are well documented. Although recent studies show that by acting on the nervous system, gut-associated bacteria can also change the behavior of infected individuals (1,2), the underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms remain mostly unknown. Our laboratory uses the Drosophila model to dissect the molecular dialog between exogenous and endogenous bacteria and the nervous system of the host. We have recently shown that infected flies have an altered behavior and demonstrated that bacteria-derived peptidoglycan is changing the comportment of infected Drosophila by modulating NF-kB signaling in few brain octopaminergic neurons (3, 4). Our latest data demonstrate that the same bacteria component, which is the main trigger of the immune response in fly (5), is also sensed by gustatory neurons (6, 7). Using Drosophila genetics, CRISPR-mediated genome editing and latest imaging technologies, the student will perform experiments to understand how bacteria modulates the activity of neurons and how this modulation translates into behavioral changes. Given the remarkable evolutionary conservation in host defense and neuronal mechanisms (8), we believe that the results obtained should be of significant relevance to an in-depth understanding of bacteria-neurons interactions in organisms other than Drosophila and namely in mammals in which such analyses are more difficult to conduct.


Institut : IBDM, Camps de Luminy, Marseilles (http://www.ibdm.univ-mrs.fr/)

Team: http://www.ibdm.univ-mrs.fr/equipe/immune-response-and-development-in-drosophila/


Expected start: 1st January 2023

Required skills: Good oral English skills as the entire PhD training will be in English, experience in Neurobiology and fly genetics will help but are not mandatory.

Contact: Applicants should send a CV (max 2 pages) a motivation letter (max 1 page) and the email address of two referees to Leo.kurz@univ-amu.fr and Julien.royet@univ-amu.fr.