PhD "Transcriptionnal and epigenetic responses of blood leukocytes in pigs: toward new indicators of health and welfare"
PEGASE unit, French National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food, and the Environment (INRAE)
The consideration and improvement of animal welfare in animal husbandry is a major societal issue today. In order to assess the situation on the farm or to test alternative farming conditions that improve welfare, it is necessary to have tools that allow its direct assessment at the animal level. Today, biologists know how to use behavioral, endocrine or immune indicators to measure the transient responses of animals to brief negative situations (=stress), but there are much less tools to assess responses related to positive emotions or mental states that are established over the long term. Inspired by results obtained in humans and other animal species, this project proposes to investigate, in pigs, whether variations in the transcriptome and epigenome of blood immune cells can be indicative of stable states of well-being or malaise, and whether these signatures could ultimately be used as a tool for assessing animal well-being. The project will study the impact of enriched and non-enriched living environments on the welfare of sows and on their blood immune cells.
Supervisors: Elodie MERLOT and Helene JAMMES
Scientific and technical skills required by the candidate: The candidate should be open to a multidisciplinary approach, relying on skills in molecular and cellular biology, bioinformatics, animal physiology and also notions of ethology. He or she should have an interest in animal experimentation (trial monitoring) and enjoy both bench work (molecular biology) and in silico work (functional analysis of gene arrays and DNA methylation data, statistical analysis with R software). Organizational skills, critical thinking, communication and teamwork skills are also required.
Applications must be submitted on this website: https://theses.doctorat-bretagneloire.fr/egaal/copy_of_theses-2020