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Intership in neurobiology - Microbiota-gut-brain axis and eating behavior

Résumé du sujet : Appetite, satiety and food preferences are influenced by biological, environmental and psychological factors. Our food choices are governed not only by conscious perception of flavor, but also by unconscious associations between a flavor and the post-ingestion consequences of consuming the associated nutrients. Several recent studies indicate that the absence or depletion of gut microbiota increases the consumption of palatable foods in mice(1–4). Taken together, these studies suggests that intervention strategies targeting the gut microbiota could be effective in modulating eating behavior. In this context, identification of relevant brain structures associated with such modifications is necessary to understand the underlying biological mechanisms.

The insular cortex(5) is a brain region considered to be a central component of the neuronal network of interoception, whose activity could be influenced by gut microbiota. However, studies are lacking on the role of microbiota in the activity of the insular cortex, particularly in response to food-associated stimuli. We are looking for Master's students (M2 or even M1) to help overcome the technical and scientific obstacles associated with this subject. The selected student(s) will take part in projects that aim at identifying the role of the insular cortex in changes in eating behavior induced by the gut microbiota. From a technical point of view, these projects may include behavioral measurements(6) (food intake, motivation), interventions to modulate gut microbiota, and indirect analyses of brain activity using immunohistochemistry. The recruited student(s) will join the team “EAT” at the NuMeCan Institute (UMR INSERM, INRAE, University of Rennes), composed of physiologists, neuroscientists, clinicians (psychologist, nutritionist) and brain imaging specialists.

Required skills: organizational skills (time management, rigor, autonomy), work ethic (integrity, responsible and dependable), interpersonal skills (collaboration, teamwork, communication), analytical skills and critical thinking.

Keywords: insular cortex, eating behavior, gut microbiota, murine model


1. Rautmann, A.W. & de La Serre, C.B. Nutrients 13, 3067 (2021).
2. Han, H. et al. Microbiome 9, 162 (2021).
3. Fetissov, S.O. Nat Rev Endocrinol 13, 11–25 (2017).
4. Trevelline, B.K. & Kohl, K.D. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 119, e2117537119 (2022).
5. Gogolla, N. Current Biology 27, R580–R586 (2017).
6. Matikainen-Ankney, B.A. et al. eLife 10, e66173 (2021).

Laboratoire d'accueil : Institut NuMeCan
Equipe d'accueil : EAT
Responsable(s) scientifique(s) : Adélie Salin
Contact(s) : adelie.salin@univ-rennes.fr

Proposé le 17-07-2023

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