David Robbe was awarded the Prix Camille Woringer 2023 by the Fondation pour la Recherche Médicale on Tuesday 24 October 2023.
Each year, the FRM honours outstanding researchers recognised for their innovative and promising work, which paves the way for tomorrow’s therapies.
David Robbe has been rewarded for his research into the brain’s mechanisms of vigour. He is exploring the function of a particular brain region called the striatum, which is thought to be crucial for selecting actions and learning automatisms (driving, cycling, etc.). With his team, he is examining whether the function of the striatum might not be to adapt the speed of our decision-making and movements according to the environment and our motivational state. This speed, also known as vigour, is the result of a compromise between the time required to carry out our actions, which must not be too long, and the energy required to move quickly.
David Robbe is studying more specifically the neural circuits in the striatum that control vigour and that are thought to be the source of behavioural differences between individuals. To do this, his team is developing new behavioural tests in rodents and recording or manipulating the activity of neurons in the striatum. A better understanding of the mechanisms that influence our behaviour should lead to a better understanding of dysfunctions in the striatum, which are at the root of illnesses such as depression, impulsive disorders and Parkinson’s disease. This should lay the foundations for new therapies, both medicinal and behavioural, to treat these conditions.