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Dynamics of thalamocortical networks

The research conducted in Alain Destexhe’s laboratory stands at the interface between several disciplines, such as biophysics, physics, computer science and neuroscience. The themes investigated range from the microscopic (single neurons) to the macroscopic (networks or populations of neurons) aspects of the central nervous system function. At the single cell level, we use theoretical methods and computer-based simulation techniques to explore the complex behavior of cortical and thalamic neurons and understand their integrative properties. At the network level, we try to understand the collective behavior of neuronal populations, and how information is processed and represented. We also study the genesis of sleep rhythms, their physiological role and their perversion into pathological rhythms such as epileptic seizures.
We use different physical frameworks (such as electromagnetism theory) to understand the genesis of different brain signals, such as the extracellular electric potentials (LFP, EEG) or magnetic fields. Finally, we use theoretical frameworks (such as stochastic dynamical systems) to conceive methods to deduce hidden information in experimentally-recorded signals. This research is only possible through a very tight collaboration with experimentalists recording single cells (intracellular measurements) and network behavior (EEG, MEG, LFP and optical imaging). We actively collaborate with experimental groups in Europe, in USA as well as within the ICN. We encourage students to follow mixed projects combining both experimental and theoretical/computational components.

Our group also created and is animating the European Institute for Theoretical Neuroscience (EITN) in Paris and Gif sur Yvette. This institute is jointly financed by the Human Brain Project and the CNRS. The EITN is meant to be an incubator of ideas in theoretical neuroscience, through organizing workshops and hosting visitors, postdocs and students.

For more information

- Research supported by the CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique), the ANR (Agence Nationale de la Recherche), the EC (European Commission), the NIH (National Institutes of Health) and the HFSP (Human Frontier Science Program, click here for more about these projects.

- Positions available at the ICN


- See the laboratory’s web site, or click on the icons below :

Description of the current research themes and projects, plus references and links to more detailed information.



Publications from the laboratory. Downloadable information about published work or papers in press. Both abstracts and complete copies of the articles can be accessed.



Computer-generated animations of models developed in the laboratory. These animations are a good complement to the articles above, and in many cases, they illustrate the dynamics of the system much better than any of the published figures !



Demos and source codes of the programs that generated some of the figures of the published articles. These demos are running on publically-available NEURON simulator, PYTHON or MATLAB. They can be used as tutorials to learn how to use NEURON, or for teaching or didactic purposes.



Cellular morphologies of thalamic and cortical neurons, to be used with the NEURON simulator. The original papers in which these cells were used are also included.


Various links to useful web pages in Computational Neuroscience and Neuroinformatics.



Neuronal music
Music created from recordings of cortical neurons. The activity is compared to Poisson stochastic processes.





The Journal of Computational Neuroscience
(Editors-in-Chief : Alain Destexhe and Jonathan Victor)
Springer Series in Computational Neuroscience
(Editors : Alain Destexhe and Romain Brette)


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