Phd In Molecular Genetics To Study The Impact Of Bacteria On Host Behavior And Physiology

Universities and Institutes of France


October 13, 2022


  • Organisation/Company: Aix Marseille University
  • Research Field: Biological sciences › Biology
  • Researcher Profile: First Stage Researcher (R1) Recognised Researcher (R2) Established Researcher (R3) Leading Researcher (R4)
  • Application Deadline: 13/10/2022 00:00 - Europe/Brussels
  • Location: France › Marseille
  • Type Of Contract: Temporary
  • Job Status: Full-time
  • A PhD position is available at the Institute of Developmental Biology of Marseille (IBDM) for a motivated student to work on a research project investigating the genetic basis of host-bacteria interactions in the Drosophila model. This is a full-time position for 3 years. The candidate must be free to start in January 2019.


    Subject: Our body hosts billions of bacteria that colonize our skin our lungs and our gut. The beneficial effects of some of these microorganisms on the development and functioning of these body parts are well documented. Although recent studies show that by acting on the nervous system, gut-associated bacteria can also change the behavior of infected individuals (1,2), the underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms remain mostly unknown. Our laboratory uses the Drosophila model to dissect the molecular dialog between exogenous and endogenous bacteria and the nervous system of the host. We have recently shown that infected flies have an altered behavior and demonstrated that bacteria-derived peptidoglycan is changing the comportment of infected Drosophila by modulating NF-kB signaling in few brain octopaminergic neurons (3, 4). Our latest data demonstrate that the same bacteria component, which is the main trigger of the immune response in fly (5), is also sensed by gustatory neurons (6, 7). Using Drosophila genetics, CRISPR-mediated genome editing and latest imaging technologies, the student will perform experiments to understand how bacteria modulates the activity of neurons and how this modulation translates into behavioral changes. Given the remarkable evolutionary conservation in host defense and neuronal mechanisms (8), we believe that the results obtained should be of significant relevance to an in- depth understanding of bacteria-neurons interactions in organisms other than Drosophila and namely in mammals in which such analyses are more difficult to conduct.

    Institut : IBDM, Camps de Luminy, Marseilles (https:// www. ibdm.univ-

    Team: https:// www. drosophila/

    Masuzzo A et al, How Bacteria Impact Host Nervous System and Behaviors: Lessons from Flies and Worms. Trends Neurosci. 2020 Dec;43(12):998-1010.

    Montanari M and J Royet. Impact of Microorganisms and Parasites on Neuronally Controlled Drosophila Behaviours Cells 2021, 10(9), 2350; https: //

    Kurz CL, et. al. Peptidoglycan sensing by octopaminergic neurons modulates Drosophila oviposition. Elife. 2017 Mar 7;6. pii: e21937.

    Masuzzo A, et al, Peptidoglycan-dependent NF-κB activation in a small subset of brain octopaminergic neurons controls female oviposition. Elife. 2019 Oct 29;8:e50559. doi: 10.7554/eLife.50559.

    Charroux B, et al. Cytosolic and Secreted Peptidoglycan-Degrading Enzymes in Drosophila Respectively Control Local and Systemic Immune Responses to Microbiota. Cell Host Microbe. 2018 Feb 14;23(2):215-228.e4.

    Charroux B, Daian F and Royet J. Drosophila Aversive Behavior toward Erwinia carotovora carotovora Is Mediated by Bitter Neurons and Leukokinin. iScience. 2020 Jun 26;23(6):101152. doi: 10.1016/j.isci.2020.101152.

    Masuzzo et al., Bacteria-derived peptidoglycan triggers a non-canonical NF-kB dependent response in Drosophila gustatory neurons. Journal of Neurosciences. 2022. In press.

    Gabanyi I ezt al, Bacterial sensing via neuronal Nod2 regulates appetite and body temperature. Science. 2022 Apr 15;376(6590):eabj3986. doi: 10.1126/science.abj3986.

    Funding category: Contrat doctoral


    PHD title: Doctorat de Biologie

    PHD Country: France

    Offer Requirements Specific Requirements

    We look for an enthusiastic and ambitious student with a strong interest in the genetics of host-bacteria interactions. The candidate is expected to have a background in molecular biology and should hold a Master Degree in Bioscience Engineering, Biotechnology or Biology. The candidate should have a level of proficiency in English which is sufficient to communicate effectively with colleagues.

    Contact Information
  • Organisation/Company: Aix Marseille University
  • Organisation Type: Other
  • Website: https:// www. development-in-drosoph...
  • Country: France
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