The teams in this field aim at a better understanding of how neural networks on the whole brain scale underpin cognitive, affective, contextual, and motivational processes, and through it translate into behavior. In more detail, the teams combine behavioral testing and clinical assessments with neurophysiology and brain stimulation methods (EEG, TMS, MEG), functional and structural MRI, and mathematical modeling in human and animal models. They investigate how the neural mechanisms of cognitive, affective, contextual, and motivational determinants of behavior are affected by mood disorders, apathy, dementia, consciousness disorders, tumor and vascular lesions causing aphasia, neglect and dysexecutive syndrome.
The teams in this field aim to determine how neural activity at different scales underlies behavior in healthy organisms, and to decipher the mechanisms by which neural activity becomes dysfunctional in neurological disorders such as epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease (PD) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). The approaches shared by the Institute’s different teams include the use of multiscale imaging and electrophysiological approaches as well as cutting-edge computational modeling in zebrafish, rodents, non-human primates and humans to study sensory processing and motor control at the synaptic, microcircuit and whole-brain network levels.
CELLULAR AND MOLECULAR NEUROSCIENCE
The teams of this domain use largely molecular and cellular approaches to understand the genetic, molecular and cellular basis of central nervous system development, function and disease. In more details, the major aims are:
– Unravel how the central nervous system generates cellular diversity and how these cells interconnect and interact to produce the brain and ensure its health throughout life, and how different pathophysiological mechanisms impact various brain areas at different ages.
– Dissect the impact of genetic mutations using animal and human healthy and disease models to decipher the cellular and molecular mechanisms that take place under normal and pathological conditions including aging, neurodegenerative diseases, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, cortical malformations and brain tumors.
– Exploit molecular and cellular based approaches to explore and develop new targeted therapies to correct damaged brain networks.
TRANSLATIONAL AND CLINICAL NEUROSCIENCE
The aim of clinical and translational research is to enable the development of predictive or progression markers and treatments for neurological and psychiatric diseases, from identification in simple laboratory modelling to clinical trials at the Clinical Investigation Center, iCRIN teams, in relationship with clinical teams of the DMU Neurosciences clinical units. The teams aim at:
– Providing innovative tools for clinical assessments of symptoms of neurological and psychiatric disease, diagnosis or progression biomarkers, and new therapeutics for patients. The domain embraces translational research from bench to bedside and vice versa.
– Based on the use of human diseases as models to better understand brain physiology or pathophysiology, the teams also nourish basic research of the Institute by disease modelling, brain mapping, biological samples and cell lines with their counterpart in animal models of neurological and psychiatric diseases.
– Developing well-phenotype and biologically characterized (stratified) cohorts of patients with specific neurologic and psychiatric diseases, including rare diseases, markers and modulation techniques of brain activity, and of innovative molecular imaging tools aiming at quantifying neurodegenerative mechanisms.
– Developing innovative therapeutics and molecular screening strategies (biotherapy systems).
COMPUTATIONAL MODELLING IN NEUROSCIENCE
The major aims of the teams focused on this line of research are:
– Mathematical modeling of multi-scale brain mechanisms ranging from molecular/cellular processes, large-scale integrated structure and dynamics (eg, anatomo-functional interactions), to cognition and behavior.
– Development of data-mining methods including network science, signal/image processing, machine learning and AI, for data interpretation and analysis and for better diagnosis and prognosis in neurological and psychiatric diseases;
– Development of scientific software and engineering tools for neuroscience applications.
Our new research area : Computational modelling in neuroscience
Until now, people using a computational neuroscience approach were included in the other research areas and applied their expertise in their host team. This new field will give them the opportunity to share their vision – complementary to that of the other fields – with the scientific and medical COPIL (steering committee) of the Institute.
The main objectives of the researchers in this new field are :
- Mathematical and computational modeling of brain mechanisms at multiple scale
- The development of data mining methods
- The development of scientific software and engineering tools for neuroscience applications.
iCRINs : the clinical research facilities of the Paris Brain Institute
The aim of the iCRINs is to develop interactions and shared knowledge between the Neuroscience Department of the Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital and the research teams of the Paris Brain Institute. The projects were evaluated by the Scientific Advisory Board of the Institut du Cerveau on the basis of expertise, performance, quality and visibility of the structure. 13 projects were selected and officially started in 2019, affiliated to the Clinical Investigation Center of the Paris Brain Institute.