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A developmental scaffold for the organization of cortical networks

Cossart Lab

Cossart’s Team tries to understand the hippocampal function in healthy or pathological conditions by studing the network developmental of neurons

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Research interests

Most adult cortical dynamics are dominated by a minority of highly active neurons distributed within a silent neuronal mass. If cortical spikes are sparse, spiking of single distinct neurons, such as hub neurons (Bonifazi et al. 2009), can impact on network dynamics and drive an animal’s behavior. It is thus essential to understand whether this active and powerful minority is predetermined and if true to uncover the rules by which it is set during development. Current work in the lab aims at testing the possibility that birthdate is a critical determinant of neuronal network function into adulthood, in health and disease. More specifically, we reason that neurons that are born the earliest are primed to participate into adult network dynamics. This hypothesis is considerably fed by our past work aiming at understanding how cortical networks function and assemble during development. To test this hypothesis, and more generally to describe structure-function relationships in cortical networks, we have developed a multidisciplinary approach that combines in vitro and in vivo calcium imaging and electrophysiology, neuroanatomy, notably from clarified intact structures, mathematical analysis and mouse genetics.

Horizontal Slice of mice brain

Calcium Activity in vitro

Calcium Activity in vivo


Keys Words

  • Early born neurons
  • Development
  • Epilepsy
  • Cortex
  • Network
  • Modeling
  • Electrophysiology
  • Genetic fate-mapping

Area of research

Understand the role of early born neurons in cortical network activity during development and into adulthood, in health and disease.
Dissect the connectome and the functional topography of early-born cortical neurons.



Collaborations INMED:

  • Dr. R. Khazipov.
  • Dr. C. Hammond
  • Dr. J. Epstein


Collaborations extérieures:

  • Pr. G. Fishell, NYU, USA
  • Pr. Fabrice Bartolomei, Service de Neurophysiologie Clinique APHM, La Timone, Marseille
  • Dr. Hervé Rignault, Equipe MOSAIC, Institut Fresnel, Marseille
  • Dr. Valentina Emiliani, Neurophotonics Laboratory, Paris
  • Dr. B. Poucet, Laboratoire de Neurosciences cognitives, Marseille
  • Pr. Heinz Beck, Laboratory of Experimental Epileptology and Cognition Research, Bonn, Allemagne

Our publications

Internal representation of hippocampal neuronal population spans a time-distance continuum.

Haimerl C, Angulo-Garcia D, Villette V, Reichinnek S, Torcini A, Cossart R, Malvache A

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America - Mar 2019

Temporal Embryonic Origin Critically Determines Cellular Physiology in the Dentate Gyrus.

Save L, Baude A, Cossart R

Cerebral cortex (New York, N.Y. : 1991) - Jun 2018

Spatial Embryonic Origin Delineates GABAergic Hub Neurons Driving Network Dynamics in the Developing Entorhinal Cortex.

Mòdol L, Sousa VH, Malvache A, Tressard T, Baude A, Cossart R

Cerebral cortex (New York, N.Y. : 1991) - Sep 2017

Awake hippocampal reactivations project onto orthogonal neuronal assemblies.

Malvache A, Reichinnek S, Villette V, Haimerl C, Cossart R

Science (New York, N.Y.) - Sep 2016

Development of early-born γ-Aminobutyric acid hub neurons in mouse hippocampus from embryogenesis to adulthood.

Villette V, Guigue P, Picardo MA, Sousa VH, Leprince E, Lachamp P, Malvache A, Tressard T, Cossart R, Baude A

The Journal of comparative neurology - Aug 2016

Internally Recurring Hippocampal Sequences as a Population Template of Spatiotemporal Information.

Villette V, Malvache A, Tressard T, Dupuy N, Cossart R

Neuron - Oct 2015

Operational hub cells: a morpho-physiologically diverse class of GABAergic neurons united by a common function.

Cossart R

Current opinion in neurobiology - Jun 2014

Dissecting functional connectivity of neuronal microcircuits: experimental and theoretical insights.

Feldt S, Bonifazi P, Cossart R

Trends in neurosciences - May 2011

GABAergic hub neurons orchestrate synchrony in developing hippocampal networks.

Bonifazi P, Goldin M, Picardo MA, Jorquera I, Cattani A, Bianconi G, Represa A, Ben-Ari Y, Cossart R

Science (New York, N.Y.) - Dec 2009

Sequential generation of two distinct synapse-driven network patterns in developing neocortex.

Allène C, Cattani A, Ackman JB, Bonifazi P, Aniksztejn L, Ben-Ari Y, Cossart R

The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience - Nov 2008

Synaptic kainate receptors tune oriens-lacunosum moleculare interneurons to operate at theta frequency.

Goldin M, Epsztein J, Jorquera I, Represa A, Ben-Ari Y, Crépel V, Cossart R

The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience - Sep 2007


  • Arnaud Malvache
  • Vincent Villette
  • Vitor Sousa