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Supervisor: Professor Stephanie Cragg

The catecholamine neurotransmitter dopamine in the striatum is critically involved in the regulation of our normal motivations and actions, and in pathologies that include drug addiction and Parkinson’s disease. However, our knowledge of the mechanisms that govern dopamine function is far from complete. Recently, we have combined electrochemical detection of dopamine with a state-of-the-art optogenetic methods to drive specific brain circuits, and have revealed a previously unknown role for another brain circuit in triggering dopamine transmission (Threlfell et al., 2012). This has radically revised the way we think dopamine neurotransmission is regulated. This project will use fast-scan cyclic voltammetry at carbon-fibre microelectrodes in conjunction with optogenetic technology to monitor and explore further the neurochemical mechanisms that govern the release of dopamine.

Funding: Applicants are expected to compete for local studentships

Contact details: Dr Stephanie Cragg

Applications by: 4th January 2013

Further information

Reference: Threlfell S, Lalic T, Platt NJ, Jennings KA, Deisseroth K, Cragg SJ (2012) Striatal Dopamine Release Is Triggered by Synchronized Activity in Cholinergic Interneurons. Neuron 75:58-64.