Join us!! PhD studentship available to study nitric oxide synthase neurons’ role in visual processing and neurovascular coupling

We are delighted to encourage applications for a PhD student to join our lab next year on a Leverhulme-funded position (see ad below). If you are interested, please email Catherine ( for help in preparing your application well in advance of the deadline of 31st January, 2019.

Experimental setup and example image for recording neuronal and vascular activity during mouse behaviour.

Sensory processing is regulated by diverse populations of interneurons that modulate excitatory neuronal activity to shape information transmission. Certain interneuron populations may also be key mediators of the vascular response to increased neuronal activity that matches blood flow to increases in neuronal energy requirements. Of the different types of interneuron, the most enigmatic is, perhaps, the population that expresses neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS). These cells may increase blood flow but have an unknown role in information processing not only in sensory cortex but in upstream regions such as the hippocampus. To uncover their role in information processing, and to understand how they may help the brain to balance energy supply and demand, this project will investigate the conditions that lead to activation of nNOS neurons in sensory cortex and the hippocampus, and whether such conditions also increase local blood flow. The project will involve imaging the activity of nNOS interneurons, excitatory neurons and blood vessels in awake behaving mice navigating a virtual reality environment, which altering the sensory, spatial or contextual (novelty, reward state) information presented to the mice. Applicants should have a background in neuroscience or a related discipline and some experience of programming for data analysis.

For more information about how to apply and other PhD studentships available on the “Sensation and Perception to Awareness: Leverhulme Doctoral Scholarship Programme” at Sussex please see here: