Research project

Understanding pathological protein spread in neurodegenerative disorders to develop novel therapeutic approaches

Project Description

In recent years, there has been a shift in our fundamental understanding of Huntington's disease (HD). Foremost among these relates to work that our group and others have done showing that despite its strictly genetic nature, HD involves non-cell autonomous phenomena that are biologically significant. Indeed, our post mortem analyses in HD patients who received fetal neural grafts have revealed the presence of mutant huntingtin protein (mHtt) within the genetically unrelated transplants. Additional experiments we have performed demonstrate that injection of various preparations of mHtt into the brain can result in precipitation of disease in HD mouse models as well as the manifestation of HD-related features in wild-type mice. While we accept that HD is initiated by the aberrant accumulation of mHtt in specific neurons, we have accumulated compelling evidence that the disease process also involves the propagation of mHtt in a prion-like fashion.

The purpose of this project is thus to study various mechanisms of transmission of pathological mHtt protein using a multidisciplinary approach which include the use of transgenic animals, immunohistochemistry/immunofluoresence, confocal microscopy and two-photon real time intravital imaging, flow cytometry, cell culture, and various molecular biology techniques and biochemical analysis.

Research Field

- Neurodegenerative disorders
- Huntington's disease
- Propagation

Research Supervisor

Francesca Cicchetti

Research Environment

Centre de recherche du CHU de Québec - Université Laval

Web Site


Related Programs

Doctorate in Cellular and Molecular Biology

Program description

Financial aid available*

Financial aid related to research project

Information unavailable

Program-Specific Financial Aid

Graduate Studies Awards

Plan Steps Incentive
Progression studentship (S-1 to S-8)
8 x $525
Progression studentship (S-9 to S-11) 3 x $200
Ph.D exam success
$800
Thesis deposit before the end of the 12th semester of full-time registration
$2,000
English or French as a Second Language training
$250
Total $7,850


Recruitment scholarships

Faculty of Medicine: Doctoral recruitment scholarships of up to $10,000.

Université Laval Research Fund for Arthritis and Rheumatic Diseases (FRAMR): Amounts up to $10,000.

Ven Murthy Scholarship: Two $25,000 recruitment scholarships in neuroscience for foreign students.

Université Laval: Student Financial Aid

Funding source Amount
Université Laval Doctoral Admission Scholarship  $2,000
Leadership and Sustainable Development Scholarships 
3 x $10,000
Mobility Grant for Out-of-Province Internships (in French)
$1,000
Graduate Scholarships from Granting Agencies   
$21,000 to $50,000$
Online Directory of Graduate Scholarships (in French)
$500 to $50,000

Supplemental Tuition Fee Exemption Scholarship Program: Entitles international students to pay Canadian student tuition fees, for overall savings of around $30,000.

* Amounts shown represent maximum financial aid available. Certain conditions apply. Subject to change without prior notice. For further information, contact sponsoring organizations directly.

Doctorate in Neurosciences

Program description

Financial aid available*

Financial aid related to research project

Information unavailable

Program-Specific Financial Aid

Graduate Studies Awards

Plan Steps Incentive
Progression studentship (S-1 to S-8)
8 x $525
Progression studentship (S-9 to S-11) 3 x $200
Ph.D exam success
$800
Thesis deposit before the end of the 12th semester of full-time registration
$2,000
English or French as a Second Language training
$250
Total $7,850


Recruitment scholarships

Faculty of Medicine: Doctoral recruitment scholarships of up to $10,000.

Université Laval Research Fund for Arthritis and Rheumatic Diseases (FRAMR): Amounts up to $10,000.

Ven Murthy Scholarship: Two $25,000 recruitment scholarships in neuroscience for foreign students.

Université Laval: Student Financial Aid

Funding source Amount
Université Laval Doctoral Admission Scholarship  $2,000
Leadership and Sustainable Development Scholarships 
3 x $10,000
Mobility Grant for Out-of-Province Internships (in French)
$1,000
Graduate Scholarships from Granting Agencies   
$21,000 to $50,000$
Online Directory of Graduate Scholarships (in French)
$500 to $50,000

Supplemental Tuition Fee Exemption Scholarship Program: Entitles international students to pay Canadian student tuition fees, for overall savings of around $30,000.

* Amounts shown represent maximum financial aid available. Certain conditions apply. Subject to change without prior notice. For further information, contact sponsoring organizations directly.

Master's in Neurosciences – with dissertation

Program description

Financial aid available*

Financial aid related to research project

Information unavailable

Program-Specific Financial Aid

Graduate Studies Awards

Plan Steps Incentive
Initial thesis submission before the end of the 6th semester of full-time registration
$1,000
English or French as a Second Language training
$250
Total $1,250

Faculty of Medicine Financial Assistance Fund for Academic Success: Two $5,000 merit awards.

Recruitment scholarships

Université Laval Research Fund for Arthritis and Rheumatic Diseases (FRAMR): Amounts up to $7,500.

Hydro-Québec Admission Scholarship: $5,000.

Faculty of Medicine Golf Tournament: Six $500 admission scholarships.

Université Laval: Student Financial Aid

Sources de financement Montant
Leadership and Sustainable Development Scholarships 2 x $5,000
Mobility Grant for Out-of-Province Internships (in French)
$1,000
Graduate Scholarships from Granting Agencies
$14,100 to $21,000
Online Directory of Graduate Scholarships (in French)
$500 to $50,000

Master's Scholarships for International StudentsThese scholarships are available in a number of programs to students from Africa and Europe, excluding France. This scholarship of $7,000 per year is awarded based on university academic achievement * Amounts shown represent maximum financial aid available. Certain conditions apply. Subject to change without prior notice. For further information, contact sponsoring organizations directly.

Master's in Cellular and Molecular Biology - with dissertation

Program description

Financial aid available*

Financial aid related to research project

Information unavailable

Program-Specific Financial Aid

Graduate Studies Awards

Plan Steps Incentive
Initial thesis submission before the end of the 6th semester of full-time registration
$1,000
English or French as a Second Language training
$250
Total $1,250

Faculty of Medicine Financial Assistance Fund for Academic Success: Two $5,000 merit awards.

Recruitment scholarships

Université Laval Research Fund for Arthritis and Rheumatic Diseases (FRAMR): Amounts up to $7,500.

Hydro-Québec Admission Scholarship: $5,000.

Faculty of Medicine Golf Tournament: Six $500 admission scholarships.

Université Laval: Student Financial Aid

Sources de financement Montant
Leadership and Sustainable Development Scholarships 2 x $5,000
Mobility Grant for Out-of-Province Internships (in French)
$1,000
Graduate Scholarships from Granting Agencies
$14,100 to $21,000
Online Directory of Graduate Scholarships (in French)
$500 to $50,000

Master's Scholarships for International StudentsThese scholarships are available in a number of programs to students from Africa and Europe, excluding France. This scholarship of $7,000 per year is awarded based on university academic achievement * Amounts shown represent maximum financial aid available. Certain conditions apply. Subject to change without prior notice. For further information, contact sponsoring organizations directly.

Desired Profile

- Biomedical Science
- Biochemistry
- Biology

Requirements and Conditions

- Highly motivated student
- Fluent in French and English (spoken and written)
- Highly adaptable
- Efficient and respectful of deadlines
- Capable of teamwork
- For master students: must have completed a bachelor degree in a relevant discipline with a grade point average superior to B+

Required Documentation

- Text about research interests
- Lettre de recommandation
- Cover letter
- Curriculum vitæ
- Student transcript

Application Deadline

May 31, 2021

Find Out More

Francesca Cicchetti
Professeure titulaire
Département de psychiatrie et de neurosciences
Francesca.Cicchetti@crchul.ulaval.ca