Cerebral Dynamics, Plasticity, Learning
The Cerebral Dynamics, Plasticity and Learning research group is an interdisciplinary team composed of theoreticians and experimentalists.
Our research addresses the functions and dysfunctions of neuronal networks in the cerebral cortex (visual, motor, frontal), the cerebellum and the basal ganglia (Parkinson disease, dystonias, autism, absence epilepsy).
Our work deals with systems at different levels of analysis, from synapses to neurons and from neurons to networks and interacting structures.
The theoretical works of the team rely on analytical calculations and numerical simulations of models that we investigate using techniques drawn from theoretical physics (e.g. statistical mechanics, bifurcation theory, extended nonlinear dynamical systems), information theory and stochastic processes theory. Our experimental works investigate neuronal activity using extracellular recordings in vivo (song bird), or patch-clamp in slices (cerebellum). We combine those electrophysiological methods with optogenetics and anatomical techniques including immunohistochemistry, neuronal tracing and counter-staining coloration.
For a true interdisciplinary research it is essential to report on our data, discuss papers and educate all our students in our different fields of expertise. Our team meets every week – from early September to end of July — for a general “group meeting”. We have also more specialized meetings: the “songbird journal club” and the “Integrate-or-fired” club which is a forum dedicated to tutorials on theoretical methods.
Themes of research
- Role of membrane receptors and channels in the development and plasticity of the cerebellum with a particular focus on the role of the cerebellum in the etiology of autism.
- Mechanistic aspects and functional implications of synaptic plasticity (short-term, long-term and structural) for collective network dynamics.
- Cellular and network mechanisms underlying synchronous activity and wave propagation in large neuronal ensembles.
- Emergence of the functional properties of neurons in the motor, visual and frontal cortices, basal ganglia and the cerebellum.
- Collective dynamics in the prefrontal cortex and and their role in working memory.
- Dynamics of the basal ganglia-thalamo-cortical loop its role in decision making and sensorimotor learning (e.g. song learning in birds) and its dysfunctions.
- Decision making and variability in behavior in experimentally controlled situations as well as in natural ones.
- Deciphering brain oxytocin circuits controlling social behavior. (Press release)
Our team organizes one day symposia on open questions in neuroscience.
Weekly group meeting
Our team organizes weekly meetings, you can access the schedule and reading list here.
The biweekly Integrate-or-fired meeting dedicated to the discussion of purely theoretical topics. The schedule can be found here.
We collaborate with colleagues from France (Bordeaux, Paris, Toulouse, Montpellier, Nice) and abroad (Jerusalem, Kyoto,Atlanta, Austin, Chicago, Philadelphia, Seattle, Vienna, Winston-Salem).
Our team is a pivotal component of the France Israel Laboratory in Neuroscience (FILN).