Brain Development Team


Research center

47 bld de l'Hôpital
75651 Paris
Alexis Brice


Université Pierre et Marie Curie
ED 3C - 158


UMRS 1127 UMR 7225
Allen Distinguished Investigator Award 2016


Brain Development, Neuronal networks, Genetic regulation, Drosophila, Mouse


Hassan, B. A. and P. Robin Hiesinger. 2015. Beyond Molecular Codes: Simple Rules to Wire Complex Brains. Cell 163:285-91.

Okray, Z., C E.F. de Esch, H. Van Esch, K. Devriendt, A. Claeys, J. Yan, J. Verbeeck, G. Froyen, R. Willemsen, F. M.S. de Vrij, and B. A. Hassan. 2015. A novel fragile X syndrome mutation reveals a conserved role for the carboxy-terminus in FMRP localization and function. EMBO Mol. Med. 7:423-37.

Langen M., M. Koch, J. Yan, N. De Geest, M-L Erfurth, B. D. Pfeiffer, D. Schmucker, Y. Moreau and B. A. Hassan. 2013. Mutual inhibition among neighboring postmitotic neurons regulates individuality and robustness of brain wiring. eLife 2:e00337.

Xiao-Jiang Quan, Liqun Yuan, Luca Tiberi, Annelies Claeys, Natalie De Geest, Jiekun Yan, Rob van der Kant, Wei R. Xie, Tiemo J. Klisch, Joost Shymkowitz, Frederic Rousseau, Mathieu Bollen, Monique Beullens, Huda Y. Zoghbi, Pierre Vanderhaeghen, Bassem A. Hassan. Post-translational Control of the Temporal Dynamics of Transcription Factor Activity Regulates Neurogenesis.

Fields of research

Neurogenetics / neurodevelopment

Research Theme

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? How did the brain evolve to be so robust to ageing, toxic insults and even geneticmutations? To answer these questions, we study the normal process of brain formation as well as the genes that keep the brainhealthy for as long as possible. To do this, we use different models, such as the fruit fly, the mouse and neurons cultured in a dish.We examine how neurons are born in the brain, how they connect to each other and how they work together to drive behavior. Weexamine what happens to these different aspects as animals age, or when they are engineered to carry certain mutations. We areespecially interested in genes which when mutated make the development or ageing of the brain less robust.