Jothini John-Vyani-Rajalingam (PhD student Sorbonne University)
Aging in Vision and Action Lab
CNRS – INSERM – Sorbonne University
17, rue Moreau F-75012 Paris, France
Phone: +33 (0)1 53 46 26 52
Research interests: Healthy aging is associated with alterations of neurobiological systems which can lead to cognitive deficiencies. One of those systems revolves around dopamine, a neuromodulator involved in shaping neuronal signal transmission. The prefrontal cortex is one of the target areas of dopaminergic inputs. It is highly involved in working memory and attention. Studies in humans and rats have shown a decrease of basal extracellular dopamine levels in the prefrontal cortex during aging. However, how this phenomenon is linked to cognitive deficits is still unknown. Therefore, during my thesis, I will be establishing the role of dopamine in the prefrontal cortex of aging mice. I will use pharmacology and electrophysiology techniques in behavioural tasks involving spatial navigation and attention. I will also determine whether these cognitive deficits can be compensated for by modulating the dopaminergic inputs.
Short bio: I am a PhD student in the Aging in Vision and Action lab. I graduated from my master’s degree in Cellular and Integrative Neurosciences in Sorbonne University in 2019 (Master Biologie intégrative et physiologie). During my first year, I conducted a 4-month internship in the Kipnis Lab at the University of Virginia (USA), where I studied the role of meningeal lymphatic vessels during brain development in mice. During my second year, I did a 6-month internship in the Spatial Orientation team in the Integrative Neuroscience and Cognition Center (Paris). I used whole-cell configuration patch-clamp and optogenetics to study the intrinsic and functional properties of neurons in the thalamo-cortical loops involved in head-direction signalling.
Keywords: Dopamine, Prefrontal cortex, Healthy aging, Spatial navigation, Attention, VTA, Working memory.