The Multidimensional Brain

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Cybernetics of thalamic and cortical networks

Sensory perception, selective attention and consciousness are intimately linked to the states of neuronal assemblies during wake and sleep; presumably depending on the level, frequencies and localizations of synchronized/de-synchonized activities; and may rely for their establishment and maintenance on plasticity homeostasis at various scales, from the synapse to the system. We study selected questions concerning these broad issues, by bringing together neurophysiologists with expertise on a large variety of electrophysiological and imaging techniques applied at scales ranging from the single synapse to dendrites, cells and systems, in vitro (and in vivo in the near future*). The emphasis is on cortical structures (visual, entorhinal, insular); their various states of activity (oscillations vs asynchronous irregular states); their link to cognitive functions including their relationships with the claustrum (a thin structure reciprocally and topographically connecting all cortical areas, and hypothesized to amplify or adjust their level of excitability or of oscillations). Computational modeling, via daily basis collaboration with other UNIC/ICN teams, is combined with our experimental studies.


* Creation of a new Team in NeuroPSI for 2020

We propose the creation of a new team “Homeostasis, Perception & States” (acronym HOPES) for a 5-year term starting January 1, 2020. The team will extend the current in vitro team to in vivo research in the ICN department. With the members of the future HOPES team we have started part of our research program ahead of 2020.
The HOPES team will combine the current in vitro team, and we will be joined in January 2020 by researchers from the in vivo vision lab of Yves Frégnac.


Selected Publications

- Gilles Ouanounou, Baux Gérard and Thierry Bal, A novel synaptic plasticity rule explains homeostasis of neuromuscular transmission, eLife 5: , (2016)

- Sébastien Béhuret, Charlotte Deleuze and Thierry Bal, Corticothalamic Synaptic Noise as a Mechanism for Selective Attention in Thalamic Neurons, Frontiers in Neural Circuits 9: 11633, (2015)

- Amanda Casale, Amanda Foust, Thierry Bal and David A. McCormick, Cortical Interneuron Subtypes Vary in Their Axonal Action Potential Properties, Journal of Neuroscience 35: 15555, (2015)

- Jakob Wolfart, Damien Debay, Gwendal Le Masson, Alain Destexhe and Thierry Bal, Synaptic background activity controls spike transfer from thalamus to cortex, Nat Neurosci 8: 1760-7, (2005)

- Gwendal Le Masson, Sylvie Renaud-Le Masson, Damien Debay and Thierry Bal, Feedback inhibition controls spike transfer in hybrid thalamic circuits, Nature 417: 854-8, (2002)


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