Positions and internships - Dynamics of Epithelial Polarity

Funded PhD position: Formation and maintenance of intestinal microvilli formation in C. elegans

We recently started to describe the growth and dynamics of microvilli during C. elegans development (Bidaud-Meynard et al, PMID: 34704594). We will next characterize how major microvilli components contribute to microvilli growth and maintenance and how their dynamic localization and behaviour are regulated during microvilli formation. To this end, we will use loss of function approaches and analyse the role of microvilli factors using a combination of super-resolution imaging, FRAP measurements and food absorption experiments. We will investigate the role of microvilli factors that we and others have already identified, as well as new microvilli components identified by our collaborator Mike Boxem (Utrecht University, Utrecht, Netherlands) using a proteomic approach. This project will lead to the first in-depth functional characterization of microvilli growth and maintenance in a living organism during embryonic and post-embryonic development, paving the way to future studies as a model for human intestinal diseases.

Supervised by Anne Pacquelet

Funded PhD position: Dynamics of C. elegans intestinal microvilli atrophy and regeneration

In humans, intestinal microvillus atrophy can be inherited or acquired and is associated with food malabsorption, persistent diarrhoea and a severe morbidity. We propose to identify new therapeutic options to treat microvillus atrophy, whether hereditary or acquired. We recently established several genetic and pathological models mimicking inherited and acquired microvillus atrophy in C. elegans. In this project, we will first characterise microvillus atrophy and natural regeneration in these models, using state-of-the-art genetic tools and live super-resolution microscopy. We will then explore the regeneration of microvilli and compare this process to their normal developmental growth. Finally, we will test a role for the gut microbiome in improving regeneration, in a collaboration with the group of Buck Samuel (Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, USA).

Supervised by Grégoire Michaux

How to apply to the PhD positions

Context: two fully funded PhD positions of the Horizon 2020 SurfEx Doctoral Network coordinated by Mike Boxem.

Start Date: from 1 December 2023

Application Closing Date: 31 September 2023.

Condition to apply: candidates must hold a Master degree and must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in France for more than 12 months in the 36 months immediately before their date of recruitment.

How to apply: Candidates should hold a Master degree in developmental biology or cell biology; French speaking is not required. Send a CV, a motivation letter and the name of 2 references to anne [dot] pacqueletatuniv-rennes [dot] fr or gregoire [dot] michauxatuniv-rennes [dot] fr.

The successful applicants will be able to closely collaborate with the SurfEx teams of Mike Boxem, Lukas Kapitein and Silvia Mihăilă from Utrecht University; Fernando Martin Belmonte from CSIC; Mikael Sellin from Uppsala University; Thaher Pelaseyed from University of Gothenburg; Daniela Pacheco from Bac3Gel® Lda; Martin Knight from Queen Mary University of London; Daniel St Johnston from the University of Cambridge. They will also be integrated in the IGDR PhD program.