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Reference : UMR5169-MARGIU1-003
Workplace : TOULOUSE
Date of publication : Tuesday, March 10, 2020
Type of Contract : FTC Technical / Administrative
Contract Period : 36 months
Expected date of employment : 1 April 2020
Proportion of work : Full time
Remuneration : 2400 € (monthly gross salary)
Desired level of education : Engineer
Experience required : Indifferent
The Research Engineer will participate in the development and maintenance of a multiphotonic microscope acquired for the ERC Advanced Grant 'COGNIBRAINS', which aims at characterizing the neural mechanisms underlying elemental and non-elemental forms of visual learning in honey bees. The experiments will be conducted on tethered bees walking stationary on a treadmill and surrounded by a virtual-reality environment. This device sill set under the multiphoton imaging system to record in parallel neural activity in the bee brain. The Research Engineer will be fully (100%) dedicated to this project and will be responsible for the maintenance and control of the imaging system required for these experiments. He/she will conduct experiments and assist users working in the ERC project and accessing the multiphoton microscope. He/she will design and implement acquisition strategies to obtain reliable and analytic data of brain activity in vivo. The work will be carried out in close contact with a post-doctoral fellow recruited for the same project.
Installation and maintenance of a multiphoton microscope dedicated to acquire neural recordings of the bee brain in vivo, in the case of bees walking stationary and learning visual discrimination in a virtual-reality environment. The research engineer will participate in the coupling of the virtual-reality device with the multiphoton microscope, and will be responsible for the technical maintenance of the latter. He/she will develop or adapt neural labeling techniques to the bee brain, and will contribute to the acquisition and analysis of neural activity recordings obtained in vivo in bees.
A proven experience in multiphotonic imaging is required. Understanding and use of multiphoton microscopes should be documented. Further expertises required are: knowledge on signal processing and analysis of observed calcium signals, a capacity to implement and develop neuronal marking suitable for observation under the multiphoton microscope, and statistical processing of imaging data. Furthermore, the research engineer should be able to assist a post doc working in the project with his/her behavioral experiments coupled to the multiphoton microscope. Unity programming would be highly welcome (virtual reality programming).
Working time: 7h42 working hours per day, 5 days a week.
The research engineer will also participate at the periodic meetings of the ERC consortium driving the project (three postdoctoral fellows and one additional study engineer) as well as at regular meetings, conferences, seminars, etc. where the hosting team participates. The research engineer will be responsible for a multi-photonic microscope (metrological control, SAV...) and must actively contribute to the acquisition of data concerning neural activity in the bee brain. Above all, she/he should be familiar with all technical aspects of this device, and understand perfectly its working principles. He/she will also have an office and access to computer facilities allowing him/her to carry out his/her work efficiently.
Constraints and risks
Due to the eventual risk of bee stinging, highly allergic persons should refrain from applying.
Larger brains do not always exhibit complex behavior. Take for example the honeybees and other social insects that have miniature brains. Despite their tiny brain size, they are capable of huge feats like categorization and concept learning, and even numerosity. All this with just 950 000 neurons (the human brain contains around 100 billion neurons). The EU-funded COGNIBRAINS project will study the honeybees to find out which minimal circuits mediate higher-order forms of cognitive processing in the brain. It will combine behavioral recordings of bees learning non-linear discriminations and relational rules under virtual reality conditions with in vivo two-photon imaging of their brain activity. The overall aim of this project is to provide the first integral characterization of the mechanisms underlying cognition in a miniature brain.
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