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The Neuroscience Section aims to discover and understand the key mechanisms underlying the functions of the Central Nervous System, from the molecular and cellular scales up to those of neuronal networks and of the communication between brain areas. To address these multi-scale questions, we combine quantitative experimental and theoretical approaches. The research themes of the 8 groups of the Neuroscience Section range from molecular and genetic studies of neurotransmitter receptor function to network dynamics in behaving animals through the physiology and pathology of the synapse. A number of experimental preparations are employed – cultured cells, brain slices, zebra fish, rats, and mice. Teams are developing innovative, emerging techniques such as single-particle tracking to study receptor dynamics at the membrane, optochemical pharmacology to interrogate receptor function, and, high-speed two-photon imaging, fiberscopes adapted to freely-behaving rodents and electrophysiology combined to optogenetics to study network dynamics ex vivo and in vivo. We are also engaged in numerous internal and external collaborations, in particular with theoreticians, physicists, and chemists. Thus, research in the Neuroscience section provides a better understanding of the normal and pathological brain and is a fundamental step in the search for new therapeutic approaches to neurological and psychiatric diseases.

Laurent Bourdieu, section coordinator