Rosa Cossart - Inmed Director

Our scientific strategy is to bring together groups sharing a common goal, with complementary experimental approaches, in order to describe and manipulate the structure and function of synapses and neural circuits. We believe that this scientific synergy is important, as is the multidisciplinary nature of our experimental approaches, in order to integrate several levels of analysis of brain function.

Cellular electrophysiology is our backbone. However, Inmed has two additional research axes. By our molecular biologists and geneticists (Cardoso, Muscatelli, Szepetowski teams) on the one hand, and by our experts in behavioral analysis and in vivo exploration of neuronal dynamics (Cossart, Crépel, Epsztein, Khazipov, Manzoni, Robbe,) on the other hand, Inmed covers the whole spectrum of brain description, from molecules to behavior.

Conceptually, we are capitalizing on a considerable database describing the developmental maturation sequences at different scales: from synapses to circuits (cortex and basal ganglia) and behaviour (motor, social, emotional, spatial exploration). We also benefit from an applied experience of our fundamental research results, through patents and industrial partnerships.

On the experimental level, our structural and functional analysis of microcircuits is complemented by a multidimensional source of information provided by behavioral analysis. Indeed, the implementation of a light sheet microscope and whole brain clarification procedures allows the mapping of specific long-range circuits (pioneering GABA and glutamatergic circuits, oxytocinergic and dopaminergic circuits, etc.) in the intact brain at different stages of development and in various animal models of disease (Cossart, Muscatelli). In parallel, our teams are implementing electrophysiological (Cossart, Epsztein, Khazipov, Robbe) and in vivo imaging (Cardoso, Cossart, Khazipov, Manzoni, Muscatelli) approaches to map the dynamics of up to thousands genetically marked neurons in behavioral animals with unprecedented temporal and spatial resolution. Indeed, one of the future challenges in neuroscience is to extract information from these large-scale multiparametric datasets in order to infer mechanisms and generate models and thus predictions.

Inmed is present in the interdisciplinary dialogue that works to reduce the distance between spatial and temporal scales of analysis. The collaboration between neuroscientists and theoretical physicists is particularly focused on solving two major issues:

1) How do genetic (KCNQ2, Grin2A, TSC1, Magel 2, Necdin, reeler, FragileX, FLNA, NR2F1, C60RF70, etc.) and environmental (viral infections, nutrition, obesity, social interactions, caesarean sections, etc.) factors affect the sequential development of synapses and networks from embryonic stages to adolescence?

2) What is the functional and structural organization of the circuits supporting perception, action, memory and social interactions and how are they wired during development and rewired during learning or pathology? Inmed aims to understand what neurons and specific circuits “do” rather than what they “can do”.

Each Inmed team has its own scientific objectives and specificities. However, these two issues are often intertwined in inter-team projects.

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