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PhD student (F / M) in developmental biology: optogenetic control of FGF and Eph signaling pathways

This offer is available in the following languages:
Français - Anglais

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General information

Reference : UMR5237-PATLEM1-003
Date of publication : Tuesday, September 03, 2019
Scientific Responsible name : Patrick Lemaire
Type of Contract : PhD Student contract / Thesis offer
Contract Period : 36 months
Start date of the thesis : 1 October 2019
Proportion of work : Full time
Remuneration : 2 135,00 € gross monthly

Description of the thesis topic

The CRBM Tunicate embryology Research Team ( studies the embryonic morphogenesis of ascidians by combining molecular and 3D + time live imaging approaches. The ANR Cell-Whisper contract (2019-2023), coordinated by the host team, aims to produce a quantitative model of the activation of a transduction pathway during embryonic development. This doctoral project will use an optogenetic control strategy for the FGF / SOS / Ras / ERK and Eph / RasGAP / ras signaling pathways, in order to characterize the spatio-temporal determinants of the information flow between membrane and nucleus during embryonic inductions. Questions asked will include: how long does signal transduction take from the membrane to the nucleus? during which phase (s) of its cell cycle is the cell competent to respond to cell receptor activation? what is the minimum activation time of the receptor needed to produce a stable nuclear response? what is the function linking the activation level of the receiver and that of ERK? The collected data will be integrated into a mathematical model of signal transduction, built in collaboration with the ANR partner teams.


- Establishment of optogenetic control strategies of FGFR and Eph receptors and of certain proteins acting downstream of these receptors in the embryos of the ascidian Phallusia mammillata. Analysis by live imaging of the activation kinetics of the ERK protein using a fluorescent reporter of this protein's activity (ERK-KTR), following the activation by light of the upstream components of the signaling pathways.
- Analysis, exploitation of results and planning of experiments.
- Writing of research or review articles in English, oral scientific presentations in English.
- Supervision of Master interns.
- Encouragement to participate in public outreach actions (Science festivals, My Thesis in 180 seconds, ...).


- Master training in cell biology or development.
- A first experience in molecular cloning and confocal/light sheet microscopy of live samples would be appreciated.
- An experience in the microinjection of RNA or proteins into oocytes would be a plus but is not required.
- Sufficient level in written / spoken English to interact daily with non-French speaking scientists.

Work Context

The host research team is located at the CRBM (CNRS / U. Montpellier) and is funded in particular by the ANR (Cell-Whisper project). The team consists of biologists and computer scientists and has close collaborations with Morphème (INRIA, Sophia Antipolis), Mosaic (INRIA, Lyon) and ICAR (CNRS, LIRMM, Montpellier) computational teams. Light sheet microscopy experiments will use a Luxendo MuViSPIM microscope located on the MRI core imaging facility at CRBM.

Constraints and risks

Use of microscopes equipped with lasers

Additional Information

It is possible to start this project either directly as a PhD student with a recruitment in fall 2019, or as a master intern, the PhD only starting in fall 2020.

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