Research / Scientific departments / Neuroscience / Units and Groups

Units and Groups

The principal expertise of the Department
Questions addressed in the Department are related to how mechanical, biochemical and electrical signals are produced and stored in neurons and neuronal networks to create and represent information; and which are the molecular and cellular mechanisms that generate, encode, and integrate these signals.

Unit of Human Genetics and Cognitive Functions headed by Thomas BOURGERON (Head of the Dept)
·  The lab identified the first synaptic pathway associated with autism spectrum disorders (the NRXN-NLGN-SHANK pathway).
· We are now using genomics, brain imaging and mouse models to understand the impact of genetic/epigenetic factors on neuronal brain circuits related to social interaction and communication.
G5 group Channel-Receptors headed by Pierre-Jean CORRINGER 
· The lab discovered bacterial ancestors of nicotinic/GABAA receptor-channels, and was the first to solve the X-ray structure of an open channel conformation, alone or in complex with general anesthetics.
· We are now describing, at atomic resolution, the allosteric mechanisms and the regulation by drugs of this important class of neurotransitter receptors.

Unit of Dynamic Neuronal Imaging headed by David DIGREGORIO
· The lab has developed and applied novel imaging technologies for high spatial and temporal resolution mointoring and manipulation of synaptic and neuronal signalling.
· We aim now to understand how synapses and neurons mediate information processing and sensory integration in cerebellar microcircuits.

Unit of Retroviruses and Gene Transfer (INSERM U622) headed by Jean-Michel HEARD
· The lab studies the cellular bases of neurodegenerative diseases in children and develops gene therapy approaches using mouse models and patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells.
·  Treatments previously validated in large animal models are currently assessed in phase I/II clinical trials, using surgical administration of adeno-associated vectors to the brain.

Unit of Perception and Memory (CNRS URA 2182) headed by Pierre-Marie LLEDO
·  The lab has pioneered novel mechanisms regulating structural and functional plasticity in the mature mammalian brain using the olfactory pathway as a system model.
· The major topic concerns adult neural stem cells and neurogenesis. We are investigating proliferation/differentiation of neural progenitor/stem cells, neuronal development, synapse formation and cell death/survival.
Unit of Integrative Neurobiology of Cholinergic Systems headed by Uwe MASKOS
· The laboratory has established the crucial role of nicotinic receptor subunits in the dopaminergic system leading to nicotine addiction, and comprehensively analysed the subunit composition.
·   We are now studying nicotinic signaling in mammalian circuits, behaviour, and psychiatric and neurological disease, using novel deep brain imaging tools.

Unit of Genetics and Physiology of Hearing (INSERM UMRS 587) headed by Christine PETIT
· The lab pioneered the field of the genetic basis of human deafness, the deciphering of the underlying pathogenic processes and the molecular physiology of hearing at the peripheral level.
·  We aim to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying sound processing by the auditory sensory cells (hair bundle and synapse) and downstream neuronal circuits, as well as to treat some hearing and visual hereditary impairments.