Research Areas

Research interests

Our team is interested in the neuronal network activity expressed in the brain at the early developmental stages. In particular, we are interested in the generation of the patterns of activity in the sensory (somatosensory and visual) cortices, with the aim to understand the neuronal network mechanisms of the earliest pattern, so-called spindle-burst, and its roles in the activity-dependent formation of the cortical maps. Consequently, we extrapolate our hypothesis made in the animal models, to the human premature neonates, with the aim to understand how the brain operates during fetal stages. We are also studying the developmental changes in GABAergic neurotransmission, and its roles in the generation of physiological and pathological activities in the developing brain (hypoxia, epilepsy and pain).

Specific projects

Our specific projects are the following:

  • aPhysiological patterns of activity in the developing brain
  • bDevelopmental changes in GABA signalling
  • cEpileptic activity in the developing brain
  • dNeuroprotection of newborn during delivery

Physiological patterns of activity in the developing brain



The patterns of activity expressed in the developing cortex (somatosensory and visual) are studied in neonatal rats using electrophysiological and imaging methods. Main hypotheses are verified in premature human neonates in collaboration with A. Kaminska (Paris).


Developmental changes in GABA signalling


The project aims to elucidate the roles of GABA acts in the developing brain; previous in vitro studies emphasized depolarizing excitatory actions of GABA on immature neurons and hormonal modulation of this excitatory actions (by oxytocin), however, whether GABA exerts similar excitatory actions in vivo remains to be determine.


Epileptic activity in the developing brain


Developing brain is prone to seizure, and we try to understand the underlying mechanisms. In parallel, we study network mechanisms of seizures in the cortex obtained from pediatric epileptic patients (Prof. Delalande, Paris), and in the genetically engineered animal models of epilepsy (collaboration with C.Chiron and R.Nabout).


Neuroprotection of newborn during delivery


Delivery is a stressful and potentially dangerous event for the newborn. We try to determine the mechanisms of fetal brain adaptation to delivery, aimed to protect fetal brain from hypoxia and pain, in particular the effects of oxytocin.

Experimental approaches


We use a combination of electrophysiological (multi-site extracellular and patch-clamp recordings) and imaging (intrinsic optical signaling, voltage sensitive dye imaging) approaches in the head restrained rats in vivo, and in the brain slices in vitro.

Key words s

Neonate, Electroencephalogram, Cortex, Barrel system, Visual, GABA, Seizure, Hypoxia, Pain, Oxytocin


Prof. G. Buzsaki (Rutgers, USA) on the early brain activity and sensory processing in the behaving neonatal rats;

Prof. G.L. Holmes (Harvard-Dartmouth, USA) on the paroxysmal activity in the developing brain and the consequences of the neonatal seizures;

Dr. Anna Kaminska and C.Chiron (Saint Vincent Paul, Paris) on the ontogenesis of human EEG;

Prof. O.Delalande (Rotschild Fondation, Paris) on the neuronal and network properties of immature human epileptic cortex;

M. Mazzuca (Necker) and Prof. R.Giniatullin (Kuopio University, Finland) on the analgesic actions of oxytocin at birth;

Drs. R.Nabout and C.Chiron (Necker, Paris) on the animal model of Dravet syndrome;

Dr. A. Sirota (Tubingen University, Germany) on the signal processing;

The team is also involved in a collaboarative project with the Laboratory of the Kazan Federal University, Russia which is supported by the Grant of Government of the Russian Federation.


Past Members

Khalilov I (CR1 Inserm)
Tyzio R. (postdoc)
Leinekugel X. (PhD student)
Milh Matheiu (PhD student)
Hanganu I. (posdoc)
Colonnese M. (postdoc)
Desfreres L. (DEA)
Melyan Z. (postdoc)
Morozova E. (student)
Lamsa K. (postdoc)
Congar P. (PhD student)
Dzhala V. (postdoc)
Petanjek Z (postdoc)


- ANR: 2009 Programme MNP « Early activity in the developing brain » (acronym Delta_Brush)
- FRM : 2011 Equipe FRM
- Grant of the Government of the Russian Federation to the Leading Scientists

Internships- PhD-Post Phd

Our team has open positions for undergraduate students, PhD students and postdoctoral fellows. Applications should be sent to:



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