Université Paris Sud 11
Our current projects are aimed at finding the different modulators of flexible behaviours and identifying the neural bases underlying this modularity. They involve the different members of the team:
Researches in the laboratory concern many fundamental aspects of brain development and evolution. The researches aim at better understand how the brains of different species develop during embryogenesis, how they are structured and organized as functional systems.
The intrinsic logic of neural networks controlling defined circuit functions and behaviours in the central nervous system is a fundamental issue of neuroscience. We study the central control of breathing, a classical model system to (i) perform integrative neurobiology and (ii) extend the significance of developmental biology, beyond anatomical organization to the level of network assembly and function.
Research in the team focuses on the cellular and molecular mechanisms of learning and memory and on identifying mechanisms responsible for memory dysfunction in brain pathologies. Our objective is to identify in different structures of the brain such as the hippocampus and cortex the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying brain of plasticity, to characterize their role in the formation of memories and identify networks and brain structures within which these changes occur during the laying down of memories.
What are the mechanisms underlying sensory plasticity in the adult brain? Since olfaction is the main sensory modality in rodents, we study how the olfactory system encodes and processes sensory information. We focus on the rodent’s olfactory bulb (OB), which is the structure supporting the first step of odor coding in the brain.
Our research focuses on the interactions between neurons and astrocytes, at the fundamental level but also in the context of neurodegenerative diseases in which glial cells display an activated phenotype that is not yet characterized at the functional level. These glial cells play an important role in brain function, particularly in energy metabolism, a function impaired in most neurodegenerative diseases (Alzheimer, Huntington and Parkinson). Our recent work shows that astrocytes activated by a cytokine (CNTF) effectively protect neurons from energy deficits (Escartin et al., 2006, 2007).
Our research program focuses on neural stem cells in both mice and Xenopus retina. The amphibian retina contains a population ofneural stem cells, which, in contrast to the mammalian situation, are active, allowing continuous tissue growth throughout the animallife, as well as regeneration following retinal damage.
Study of fine-grained cognitive representations and processes underlying cognition and perception; of contrast between conscious and non-conscious operations, to identify signatures of conscious level processing.
Analyze the impact of education on the adult brain organization for reading and arithmetic.
Study the development of language and consciousness in human infants and young children and human adult architecture for sentence-level processing of language.