Research topic

How neural networks encode sensory information into the brain and how to relate behavior to neuronal activities are key questions in neuroscience. Understanding the neural codes underlying brain function will be of great importance for future implementation of brain-machine interfaces. In the laboratory, we study the mechanisms controlling sensory perception and how different senses may interact together. We would like to precise how sensory stimuli are coded by brain networks and how these representations may be influenced by experience and across different sensory modalities. In order to address these general questions, we study chemical senses as model sensory systems. Indeed, olfactory and gustatory systems are central to the behavior of rodents, are highly plastic and largely modulated by neuromodulatory brain centers. Furthermore they are probably the senses most naturally interacting together in behaving animals especially during feeding behavior. We use a multidisciplinary approach combining in vitro and in vivo electrophysiology and functional imaging (calcium, voltage-sensitive dyes imaging, intrinsic and synaptophluorin imaging), 2-photon microscopy, lentivirus gene transfer and behaviour. Among different projects, we are currently studying the network mechanisms underlying olfactory coding, the synaptic mechanisms shaping olfactory networks function and the impact of adult neurogenesis on olfaction.