The prefrontal cortex (PFC) is a major challenge in Neurosciences. This brain region controls behavior adaptation and highercognitive functions that are needed for complex social interaction, abstract thinking, reasoning, planning or creativity.
To decipher the molecular mechanisms that allow brain gene expression to adapt to environmental challenges, we focus on the function of inducible transcription factors. Glucocorticoid hormones (GC) plays a key role in physiological and psychological responses to stress. It has multifaceted functions in the brain, most likely reflecting distinct actions in different brain areas and cell populations.
The optic tectum has emerged as a tractable visuomotor transformer, in which anatomical and functional studies can allow a better understanding of how behavior is controlled by neuronal circuits. We are examining the formation and function of the visual system in zebrafish larvae using in vivo time-lapse microscopy and state-of-the-art “connectomic” and “optogenetic” approaches to monitor and perturb neuronal activity. We apply complementary cellular and molecular analyses to dissect this circuit and identify the neuronal substrate of visual behaviors.
The central nervous system (CNS) of vertebrates is a complex arrangement of neurons and glial cells that underlie brain physiology and animal behavior. These cells are set-up in defined numbers at specific locations from neural progenitors or Neural Stem Cells (NSCs), largely during early stages of life. In addition, the maintenance of NSCs in the brain until adulthood is a general phenomenon, likely crucial to late adaptation events. Indeed, defects in adult neurogenesis have been correlated with neurodegenerative and mood-related disorders, and also occur during ageing.
My laboratory is interested in the functional properties of neural circuits underlying odor perception. We use a combination of molecular genetic, in vivo imaging and behavioral approaches in mice to understand the logic of odor coding in higher olfactory centers in the cortex.
Sensory systems transduce fluctuations in the physical world into patterns of action potentials which are integrated to control motor outputs. Locomotion relies on genetically determined circuits constituted by spinal interneurons and capable of generating oscillations. Local sensory information about the outside world or the internal state seem to alter thesemotor patterns by triggering, stopping or steering locomotion.