Neurogenetics / neurodevelopment
Le cerveau est composé de nombreux types de neurones communiquant entre eux via descontacts spécifiques, les synapses. Chaque neurone peut être contacté par plusieurs typesde neurones et à son tour peut envoyer des connections sur différentes autres populationsneuronales : la structure de ces réseaux peut être comparée à celle des réseauxélectriques. Comment la formation de ces réseaux précis est contrôlée reste encore malcompris. Toute perturbation de leur formation peut entraîner des maladies neurodévelopmentales du type autisme.
Our lab is interested in how a brain develops and how it is protected from disorders, like intellectual disability and neurodegeneration.Although the emphasis in the media and, even the scientific literature tends to be on brain disease, it is worth remembering that vastmajority of people - and indeed animals - are in fact healthy and do not suffer from brain disorders. In fact, brain health is so robustthat often even individuals with mutations that could lead to disease do not develop the symptoms. How does brain developmentresist dysregulation more than 95% of the time?
Our second aim is to assess the crucial question whether different ALS genes lead to motor neuron death and deleteriousmicroglia/macrophage responses by gain or loss of function mechanisms. A major focus will be on newly discovered and theremaining unknown ALS genes with approaches including novel mouse modeling and gene discovery.Our project relies on the combined capacities of 4 PIs and 2 supporting clinicians forming this ALS team.
The modern abundance of energy-rich foods combined with a shift to more sedentary lifestyles has led to a thermodynamic imbalance, and consequently, excessive caloric intake and reduced energy expenditure are the main causes for the prevalence of obesity. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) the obesity worldwide obesity has more than doubled since 1980. In 2008, 1.5 billion adults, 20 and older, were overweight.
Our research program aims at understanding how the brain controls locomotor activity, and how aging or neurodegenerative pathologies, such as Parkinson’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, alter this function and in general brain functioning. We try to identify neuronal networks controlling locomotor activity and circadian mechanisms that modulate them in health and disease. Our approach combines genetics methods, brain imaging and behavioral assays.
The mature nervous system is an intricate network in which neurons are connected to specific partners. The choice of these partners is crucial for the correct behavior of the network (meaning the nervous system) and is determined at early stages of development. Abnormal development of neuronal connections is responsible for a large range of neuronal pathologies, some of them affecting vision. Research carried on by our team focuses on a better understanding of the development of sensory maps including the connection between the retina and the brain.
We study neurodevelopmental disorders with the ultimate aim to identify key molecular and cellular mechanisms involved in establishing neuronal circuits underlying social cognition and behavior. We currently focus on the study of transcription factors whose mutations lead to speech and language disorder and to microcephaly and intellectual disability.
Microtubules are key cytoskeletal elements involved in a large number of functions in eukaryotic cells. They assemble from a protein dimer of a- and b-tubulin, two highly similar and conserved proteins. Tubulins are subject to a large variety of posttranslational modifications, which provide a rapid and reversible mechanism to diversify microtubule functions in cells. Our team is studying the mechanisms and functional roles of these modifications by using an interdisciplinary approach.
We address two questions:
1) Which mechanisms underly the evolution and the diversification of the vertebrate forebrain?
2) What are the evolutionary forces involved?
BDRA studies mechanisms underlying the development, repair and ageing of the brain, using cerebellar and hippocampal models in vivo and in vitro, to address fundamental biological bases of these phenomena and to explore clinical applications.
The team’s multidisciplinary approach, from molecules to behavior and bench to the clinic, expands the Unit’s research fields into the evolution of accumulating synaptic dysfunction with time and the potential for its repair.