IHU Program

“Our goal is to give patients access to treatment innovations developed at Paris brain Institute. We are building the missing links so that these novel treatments get to patients as quickly as possible.”   Prof. Catherine Lubetzki, MD, PhD, Medical Director and Director of the Neuroscience Medical-University Department of Pitié Salpêtrière - Sorbonne University
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Basic, clinical and translational research

Institut du Cerveau – ICM has built effective translational research on the backbone of strong basic neuroscience organized in 4 domains:

1) Cellular and molecular neurobiology

Teams in this domain work on how the brain generates its different cell types, how these cells interconnect and interact to produce the brain and ensure its health throughout life. This is the cornerstone of understanding how different pathophysiological mechanisms impact different parts of the brain at different ages.

Recent results:


2) integrative neurophysiology

With the use of multiscale imaging, electrophysiological approaches, cutting-edge computational modeling, teams in this domain study brain function in various animal models at the synaptic, microcircuit and whole-brain network levels to decipher how neural activity becomes dysfunctional and to characterize pathological neural activity underlying symptoms in neurological. Recent results:


3) cognitive neuroscience

By combining the study of mental process, brain structure and dynamics of brain activity, teams from this domain explore the neural mechanisms underlying the cognitive, contextual, affective and motivational determinants of behavior. PRISME, an innovative core facility for the study of complex human behavior and cognition, funded by the IHU, is crucial for the success of this research. Recent results:


4) clinical neurology and neuroscience

A major aim of the IHU was to imprint a culture of excellence in clinical research and develop a unique environment for precision and preventive medicine. Within the IHU perimeter, there are currently > 170 clinical studies ongoing (57 cohorts, 200000 biosamples & 500 brains). Clinical research activity has doubled since 2011 (7000 patients per year). Clinical studies are sponsored by academic institutions (63%) or industrial partners (37%), with pathophysiological (40%) or therapeutic (60%) objectives.


After SAB evaluation, 13 teams working on topics ranging from sleep medicine, to stroke and injury to neuro-oncology and neurodegeneration were selected for a 5-year funding cycle and will be support by Institut du Cerveau – ICM’s Infrastructure of Clinical Research.


Institut du Cerveau – ICM has implemented key strategies to make clinical neurology and neuroscience the first domain of publication at the Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital which has the highest rate of publication among France’s public health services centers:

  • Fast-track procedures to minimize the delay of legal submission of clinical studies.
  • IHU investments in 10 cutting edge core facilities providing technology such as combined PET and MR technology using 3T PET-MRI, ultrasound technology, electrophysiological recordings, cellular imaging, confocal and two-photon microscopy, and sequencing.
  • 5M€ investment to create the Neuroinformatics Center (200+ users, ~50 projects per year, 24 co-authored publications and 80+ articles acknowledging the Institut du Cerveau – ICM), including a bioinformatics and biostatistics core facility (iCONICS) dedicated to data management and analytics.
  • The Big Brain Theory (BBT) internal call, a unique IHU internal funding opportunity to foster high-risk/high-gain innovative and interdisciplinary projects and generate collaborations. 23 awards of 200 k€ each, 25 communications at conferences, 18 articles and 2.7+ M€ revenue in grants applications.
  • COPIL evaluation to sustains research quality.


Recent results:


Healthcare activities

Institut du Cerveau – ICM created a healthcare networks dedicated to complex patients with Parkinson’s and head trauma:

  • Network of professionals for off-site care formed to improve the links between primary care and specialized in-hospital units.
  • Creation of the regional “Pôle de coordination du handicap neurologique”. 250+ patients with epilepsy, inflammatory CNS diseases or movement disorders included in program.
  • Development of a strong healthcare pathway research by in-depth analysis of neurodegenerative patient’s trajectories from primary care to university hospital with the creation of the UNPC clinical unit dedicated to the diagnosis and care of behavioral disorders. 1200 inpatients, 5000 outpatient 15 clinical research projects in collaboration with Institut du Cerveau – ICM.


Education and training activities

Institut du Cerveau – ICM aims to provide innovative training in state-of-the-art research fields and cutting-edge technologies, to boost clinical and paramedical qualification and to sharpen transferable skills. 12 programs enrolling 1500 participants in 2018, with 7 key actions:

  • Research Excellence Fellowship: Institut du Cerveau – ICM selected as partner of the “Bing Overseas Studies Program” and “MIT-France”. In 2015, the APHP and Institut du Cerveau – ICM partnered with Yale University’s Neurology Residency Program.
  • Scientific Workshops: enhance Institut du Cerveau – ICM-based research projects while increasing the international visibility. 9 workshop applications funded with ~800 participants.
  • iMIND: was awarded a SU FormInnov grant for innovative international training.
  • Brain To Market Summer School: 4 editions, 288 participants from 13 countries. Integrated into iMIND.
  • Future Clinician-Researchers Series (STARE) research internships: to engage medical students in research. 6 sessions, 43 students.
  • Paramedical Upskilling Courses: to promote paramedical expertise and new approaches in research projects.
  • The Move – Diagnosing Disease Through Mime: a course in neurological semiology. (2100 students & 2 tournaments). Has been implemented in SU, Rennes, Clermont-Ferrand, Lille, Nancy, UCL, Dublin, and Hanoi.

International visibility and attractiveness

Building on the scientific reputation of the IHU:

  • 300 international partnerships and training programs,
  • Worldwide competitive recruitment policy (40+ nationalities),
  • 2700 articles since 2012 – 164 in the top 1% & 744 in the top 10% most cited,
  • Institut du Cerveau – ICM ranks 2nd world-wide in the field of neurology,
  • 68 permanent clinician-researchers.

Since the IHU funding:

  • 20% more University professors, lecturers, and academic researchers,
  • 44% more PhD students,
  • 38% more postdocs,
  • 5 new team leaders.


Economic exploitation

Institut du Cerveau – ICM laid a solid foundation for transformational research with high economic impact and industrial attractiveness. IHU support led to major grants, a dramatic increase in pharmaceutical and biotech partnerships applications.

Technology transfer: Institut du Cerveau – ICM supported by IHU has increased industrial attractiveness, allowing it to search for partners, negotiate contract, and file intellectual property:

  • 1000+ research agreements with socio-economic partners (40% international) generated 76M€of revenue (2010-17) under the Institut Carnot label, unique to Institut du Cerveau – ICM among all IHUs,
  • > 20 proprietary know-hows valorized generating 700-900K€/year,
  • 56 patent applications & 7 exclusive licenses,
  • Launch in 2017 of NeuroCatalyst to develop “made by Institut du Cerveau – ICM” products with clinical POC and solid IP.

Start-up 2.0 and incubator: Institut du Cerveau – ICM’s bioincubator (2013) has helped 40+ companies (9 from Institut du Cerveau – ICM). Its rent generates around 500K€/year. Since 2015, 20+ start-up incubated on the IHU’s site have:

  • raised 160 M€,
  • created 300 jobs,
  • brought 5 products to market.

Fundraising: Institut du Cerveau – ICM has:

  • raised more than 110M€,
  • relied on its Circle of Friends (718 donors),
  • set up direct marketing and online fundraising for the general public (175000 donors).

Grants: Since 2012, Institut du Cerveau – ICM has:

  • raised 85M€ (grant income of ~€10m/year),
  • obtained 100 ANR grants, 300 grants from Associations-foundations & 81 grants from public funding,
  • received Allen Distinguished Investigator & NYSCF Robertson Investigator awards (1,5M$ each)

obtained Grants form 46 international associations/foundations and 7 NIH grants,

  • managed 11 ERC grants + 3 POC & 14 H2020 collaborative grants,
  • been a leader of one Innovative Training Networks (ITN, Zenith 4M€) and a partner of one ITN (Gliotrain),
  • received 15 Institut du Cerveau – ICM post-doc MSCA individual fellowships.