lundi 29 juin 2015


Full time, 3-year contract
Expected starting date: October 2015
ANR-funded project PHEROMOD: 
Pheromones as general modulators of insect behavior
Pheromones are chemical messengers eliciting stereotyped behavioural or physiological responses in another organism of the same species. In addition to their well-documented function as communication signals, some pheromones have been recently shown to play a role as �modulators� of cognitive phenomena, facilitating or inhibiting associative learning and memory both in vertebrates and invertebrates. We will study the modulator effect of pheromones on experience-dependent behaviour of two social insect taxa, honeybees and ants, in order to determine the mechanisms that are either conserved across species or species-specific and associable with particular life-styles. 
We will study the mechanisms of pheromone modulation with an interdisciplinary approach (e.g., behavioural and pharmacological). As odour coding changes after appetitive learning in olfactory centres of the insect brain, we will analyse if pheromone exposure modifies per se the odour code in the first olfactory relay (antennal lobe) of the studied species. A combination of pheromone/neutral odour exposure and in vivo calcium imaging recordings of antennal lobe activity will be used to this end. 
This research project will achieve a comprehensive knowledge on how pheromones influence learning performances in three paradigmatic insect taxa that are models for fundamental and applied biological research.

The successful applicant will have a Master 2, Diplomarbeit, Licenciatura or equivalent in behavioural biology, neurosciences, and/or evolutionary chemical ecology. 
Experience with insects, learning paradigms and/or neurophysiology is welcome.  
Full commitment to the research project and proficiency in English, both oral and written, are absolutely essential.

The work will be carried out at the CNRS Centre for Animal Cognition, University of Toulouse. The advisors will be Prof. Martin Giurfa (main supervisor) and Prof. Patrizia d’Ettorre (co-supervisor).

Applications to be submitted to:
Prof Martin Giurfa
Centre de Recherches sur la Cognition Animale
CNRS - Université Paul Sabatier - Toulouse III - UMR 5169
118 Route de Narbonne
31062 Toulouse cedex 9

Phone (direct): 33 (0) 561 55 67 33
Fax: 33 (0) 561 55 61 54