Research in the team focuses on the cellular and molecular mechanisms of learning and memory and on identifying mechanisms responsible for memory dysfunction in related brain pathologies. In the brain, memory storage involves lasting changes in synaptic efficacy associated with structural and functional reorganization of the neuronal networks activated by experience. Our objective is to identify the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying brain plasticity, to characterize their role in the formation of memories and identify networks and brain structures within which these changes occur during the laying down of memories.
We investigate in different structures, such as the hippocampus and cortex, the mechanisms and function of several forms of plasticity (long-term potentiation and depression, adult neurogenesis) induced by neuronal stimulation or by learning or behavioral enrichment. Our approach, from gene to function, enables identification of learning-induced cellular and synaptic changes as well as the functional role of signaling cascades, transcription factors and the regulation of genes and proteins that contribute to distinct stages of plasticity and distinct forms of memory.
Our research programs cover several facets, from the mechanisms of neuronal network plasticity and adult neurogenesis, as well as identification of the pathophysiological mechanisms leading to cognitive dysfunction in neurodevelopmental diseases (intellectual disability) and neurodegenerative diseases (Alzheimer’s disease). In rodent models of these pathologies, we also develop novel strategies to evaluate the potential of several gene, pharmacological and behavioral therapies.
Our multidisciplinary approach, undertaken in rats and in transgenic mouse models, is based on converging methodologies including cellular and molecular biology, biochemistry, neuroanatomy, cell imaging, pharmacology, electrophysiology and behavioral studies in a variety of learning and memory tasks.