Thesis subject

At first thought: Emergent brain dynamics during C. elegans development

The brain with its many interconnected neurons is the most complex organ of our body and plays a pivotal role in processing information and controlling body function and behavior. Little is known about how its vast functional repertoire arises during embryonic development. In this project, we will leverage the C. elegans worm to understand the emergence of brain activity.

The nematode C. elegans is a well-studied model organism for research about development and behavior. Its rigid development leads to an identical number of somatic cells (including neurons) in every adult, which allowed researchers to determine the complete cell lineage. Importantly, several strains have been designed to express a calcium reporter that allows for monitoring brain activity in live animals. You will use such strains to image neuronal dynamics in C. elegans embryo at single-cell resolution using a confocal microscope, extract activity time courses and analyze the behavior.

The skills your will be using/learning are e.g.: handling of C. elegans worms and eggs, confocal microscopy, image analysis, analysis of complex dynamic data.