Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg
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SFB 1158_Kuner0219 - Scientist (f/m) / PhD position
Project no:
SFB 1158_Kuner0219

Project leader:

Project supervisor:
Kuner, Rohini
Application deadline:
30. Sep 2019
Start of PhD project:
1. Jan 2020

Project description:

Neural circuits mediating analgesia
Chronic pain is a major health problem word-wide. Our laboratory works on elucidating mechanisms and circuits underlying chronic pain (see, for example, Tan et al. Nature Communications 2019; Tan et al. Nature Neuroscience 2017; Vicuna et al. Nature Medicine 2015; Kuner and Flor, Nature Reviews Neuroscience 2016). We are seeking PhD students in projects aimed at elucidating brain pathways and mechanisms involved in chronic pain in mouse models. Methods include viral-based circuit mapping, labelling cellular engrams, optogenetics, chemogenetics, in vivo multiphoton imaging, in vivo electrophysiology, neuromodulation and behavior.

This project involves in vivo recordings of brain oscillatory activity in awake behaving mice and addressing their relevance to pain chronicity.
A related goal is to address circuits mediating analgesia induced by brain stimulation approaches, such as transcranial magnetic stimulation, using transgenic mice and the above-described methods.
The approaches will enable deep insights into activity patterns and circuits mediating chronic pain and applying this knowledge to improve brain stimulation paradigms in pain therapy.
1. Tan LL, Oswald MJ, Heinl C, Retana Romero OA, Kaushalya SK, Monyer H, Kuner R.Gamma oscillations in somatosensory cortex recruit prefrontal and descending serotonergic pathways in aversion and nociception. Nat Commun. 2019 Feb28;10(1):983.

2. Tan LL, Pelzer P, Heinl C, Tang W, Gangadharan V, Flor H, Sprengel R, Kuner T, Kuner R. A pathway from midcingulate cortex to posterior insula gates nociceptive hypersensitivity. Nat Neurosci. 2017 Nov;20(11):1591-1601

3. Kuner R, Flor H. Structural plasticity and reorganisation in chronic pain. Nat Rev Neurosci. 2016 Dec 15;18(1):20-30.

4. Vicuña L, Strochlic DE, Latremoliere A, Bali KK, Simonetti M, Husainie D, Prokosch S, Riva P, Griffin RS, Njoo C, Gehrig S, Mall MA, Arnold B, Devor M, Woolf CJ, Liberles SD, Costigan M, Kuner R. The serine protease inhibitor SerpinA3N attenuates neuropathic pain by inhibiting T cell-derived leukocyte elastase. Nat Med. 2015 May;21(5):518-23.
Methods that will be used:
electrophysiology, in vivo imaging, optogenetics, chemogenetics, neuromodulation and behavior
Cooperation partners:
Catherine Belzung, France
Nicolas Renier, France
Personal qualifications:
Applicants must have a strong background and training in neuroscience and preferably have experience in at least 2 of the methods described above.
Pain chronicity, neural corcuits, transgenic mice, electrophysiology, optogenetics, behaviour