THE « ALLIANZ-FONDATION DE L’INSTITUT DE FRANCE » OF THE SCIENCE ACADEMY PRIZE
Rosa Cossart and her team receive the “Allianz-Fondation de l’Institut de France” prize for their work on the hippocampus, which aims to reveal new neural mechanisms essential to its development and the physiological maintenance of its functions. These investigations also serve to better understand pathologies linked to hippocampal dysfunctions that alter spatial and episodic memory, such as epilepsy or Alzheimer’s disease.
The hippocampus is a structure that houses a cognitive map of space, involved in navigation, learning and episodic memory. The work of this team is largely based on its expertise in in vivo functional imaging, which it combines with electrophysiology, genetics, anatomy and big data processing tools. They have made it possible to reveal the foundations of the hippocampus, which take the form of early neuron assemblies.
The team is now pursuing its research around 3 questions:
1) Do these early assemblies form specific circuits in the adult seahorse?
2) Are they predetermined or shaped by experience?
3) What are their pathophysiological functions in the memory and navigational processes?
THE BETTENCOURT PRIZE FOR YOUNG RESEARCHERS
Romain Bourboulou – 2019 doctoral student in the team “Neuronal coding of space and memory” co-supervised by Jérôme Epsztein and Julie Koenig-Gambini, is one of the 14 winners of the 2020 Bettencourt prize for young researchers. During his thesis he worked on the resolution of spatial coding in the hippocampus using an innovative combination of electrophysiological recordings and a behavioural task in virtual reality.
Romain is now at UCL in London (firstname.lastname@example.org). During his post-doctoral work, he will attempt to elucidate the neural mechanisms that allow a transfer from short-term memory in the hippocampus to long-term memory in the cortex. A multidisciplinary approach will help him to better understand the mechanisms underlying memory formation in the healthy brain and potentially its degradation in certain pathologies such as Alzheimer’s disease.