Research in my team is focused on neuronal G-protein Coupled Receptors (GPCRs). These sensory proteins are important targets oftherapeutic and abused drugs, and are usually studied by pharmacology or electrophysiology, but we assume that their functioncannot be fully understood without considering their sub-cellular environment. We have indeed found unexpectedly close relationshipbetween neuropharmacology and neuronal cell biology.
The goal of the research team is to analyze the roles played by environmental and genetic factors, as well as the interactions between these components, in the etiology and treatment of psychiatric disorders such as depression, anxiety and addiction. The main objective of the team is to identify cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying these pathologies which are associated with major dysfunctions of the monoamine and HPA systems and characterized by cellular plasticity alterations of different brain areas and in particular the hippocampus.
Oligodendrocyte precursor cells expressing the chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan NG2, also called NG2 cells, have the ability to proliferate in the postnatal brain to generate oligodendrocytes in grey and white matters. NG2 cells play a critical role in myelination during postnatal brain development, but a pool of these progenitors is maintained in the adult and recruited to lesions in demyelinating diseases. Recent discoveries have demonstrated that NG2 cells are contacted by functional glutamatergic and GABAergic synapses from neurons in grey and white matters.
My lab group focuses on predictive factors of and vulnerabilities to addictive behaviors.
Our team is interested in understanding the processes underlying the formation of new memories. The hippocampus is a brain region that has long been considered to be central in memory storage and retrieval. Networks of inhibitory neurons in the hippocampus are critical for hippocampal activity, and play a central role in learning.
The overall goal of our research is to decipher the mechanisms involved in major mental health problems: psychosis, depression, bipolar disorder, addiction.
The neocortex represents the brain structure that has been subjected to a major expansion in its relative size and complexity during mammalian evolution. Cognitive functions depend on the accurate construction of complex neural circuits which begin early during development through a precise orchestration between proliferation of progenitors, spatio-temporal generation of distinct cell types and control of their migration and settling position.
Membrane trafficking allows for the communication between the different membrane compartments of the biosynthetic and endocytic pathways and for the communication between cells and their environment through the secretion of signalling molecules by exocytosis and capture of nutrients by endocytosis. Exocytosis and endocytosis are crucial to maintain cell homeostasis and are also involved in differentiation and morphogenesis of cells.