Master's project - Muscarinic cholinergic receptor-mediated modulation of cocaine effects at Neuropsykiatrisk Laboratorium

Master’s Thesis Project at Laboratory of Neuropsychiatry

Muscarinic cholinergic receptor-mediated modulation of cocaine effects

Background: The long-term objectives of this line of research are to identify new targets for the treatment of substance use disorders (addiction), in particular for cocaine – the Danesʼ second favorite illegal drug after cannabis. Two promising targets identified by our research are the muscarinic cholinergic receptor subtypes M1 and M4. Pharmacological stimulation of M1 and M4 receptors can reduce or even eliminate cocaine taking in rats and mice. M1 stimulation has unusual (in fact, a bit mysterious) long-lasting effects. It also appears to have cognitive enhancing effects.

The objective of this project is to evaluate the effects of M1 and M4–selective ligands in neurocognitive tests in mice, testing the hypothesis that they, alone or in combination, can reverse cocaine-induced cognitive impairments.

Assays and Techniques: The project focuses on sophisticated behavioral assays in rodents (rodent continuous performance test, rodent gambling task) with classical pharmacology. You may also participate in microdialysis, qPCR, fiber photometry, or other techniques. You will work with our fabulous two new team members post-doc Cesar and PhD student Abhishek.

Qualifications: You are a highly motivated Masterʼs student in the field of molecular biomedicine, pharmacology, human biology, or related disciplines. Completed course in Laboratory Animal Science mandatory.

Laboratory of Neuropsychiatry: We are a research unit at Psychiatric Centre Copenhagen, Region Hovedstadens Psykiatri and with ties to University of Copenhagen. Our research includes both clinical and basic research studies of the biological basis for psychosis and addictions. You will be working alongside other students.

Contact information: Morgane Thomsen, senior researcher at Laboratory of Neuropsychiatry and associate professor at University of Copenhagen, Department of Neuroscience.

Laboratory of Neuropsychiatry, Psychiatric Center Copenhagen, Edel Sauntes Allé 10, 2100 Kbh. Ø.

Start: Fall 2022 or to be agreed upon. Note this is a Master's education project, not a paid position.

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