About the laboratory

The research field of the Brain Plasticity laboratory is the study of the molecular, cellular, anatomical and behavioral mechanisms of neuroplasticity. This theme is addressed by an integrated multidisciplinary approach, combining genetics, molecular and cellular biology, neural network studies, brain imaging, physiology and behavior.

Our laboratory brings together researchers interested in understanding the functioning of the brain at different scales, in order to develop collaborations and synergies. Complementary biological models are studied, the brain of the Drosophila (Thomas Preat & Pierre-Yves Plaçais’s team and Serge Birman’s team), the brain of mammals (Karim Benchenane’s team, Sophie Pezet’s team and Gisella Vetere’s team), and the human brain.

The unique situation of the Brain Plasticity laboratory, within ESPCI Paris, allows us to develop unusual and fruitful bridges between neurobiology and physics.

In the light and continuity of the study of basic mechanisms of neuroplasticity, our projects include, concretely or potentially, applications to human cerebral pathology. We are interested in certain neurological or psychiatric conditions such as the effects of cannabinoids on memory or major psychiatric illnesses (Karim Benchenane’s team), understanding neuronal mechanisms involved in sleep physiology (Karim Benchenane’s team), neuropathic pain (Sophie Pezet’s team), understanding neural codes and brain plasticity underlying memory processes (Gisella Vetere’s team) or studying Genetic models in Drosophila, molecular mechanisms involved in Parkinson’s disease (Serge Birman’s team), and Alzheimer’s disease (Thomas Preat & Pierre-Yves Plaçais’s team). The applied nature of this work, particularly in physics and neuropathology, suggests that they may lead to valuations at the industrial level (brain-computer interface, caracterisation of molecules).


Karim BENCHENANE : ERC Consolidator Grant 2016

Karim BENCHENANE, Head of the Memory, Oscillations and Brain States team is the recipient of an ERC Consolidator Grant that supports ambitious projects. He is encouraged for his work on the manipulation of memories of aversive experiences during sleep via a brain-machine interface (MNEMOSYNE Project).

Gisella Vetere : Head of a the new Team C4

Gisella VETERE, Professor at ESPCI Paris, is heading a new team of the Brain Plasticity Unit, C4 (Cerebral Codes and Circuits Connectivity) from August 2018. Her group will study the neural mechanisms governing memory acquisition and consolidation in mice and how these processes change the neural plasticity.

Thomas PREAT: ERC Advanced Grant 2016

Thomas PREAT, Head of the Energy & Memory team, is the recipient of an ERC Advanced Grant. This attribution confirms his position as a leader in the field of memory neurobiology. His EnergyMemo project focuses on the integrated physiological study in drosophila of the interplay between energy metabolism and long-term memory.

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Recent publications

Memory formation in the absence of experience.

Vetere G, Tran LM, Moberg S, Steadman PE, Restivo L, Morrison FG, Ressler KJ, Josselyn SA, Frankland PW.
Nat Neurosci (2019) 933-940.
Memory is coded by patterns of neural activity in... (...)

A psychoengineering paradigm for the neurocognitive mechanisms of biofeedback and neurofeedback

Gaume A., Vialatte A., Mora-Sánchez A., Ramdani C., Vialatte F.B.
Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews (2016) 68:891-910.
We believe that the missing keystone to design effective and... (...)

Drosophila Neprilysins Are Involved in Middle-Term and Long-Term Memory

Turrel O., Lampin-Saint-Amaux A., Preat T., Goguel V.
Journal of Neuroscience (2016) 36(37):9535-46.
Neprilysins are type II metalloproteinases known to degrade and inactivate a number of... (...)

Drosophila Clock is required in brain pacemaker neurons to prevent premature locomotor aging independently of its circadian function

Vaccaro A., Issa A.-R., Seugnet L., Birman S.* & Klarsfeld A.*
PLOS Genetics (2017). 13(1):e1006507.
Circadian clocks control many self-sustained rhythms in physiology and behavior with... (...)

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Practical information

Unit Director
Thomas PREAT
thomas.preat (arobase) espci.fr

tu-khanh.nguyen (arobase) espci.fr
elisa.silveira (arobase) espci.fr

Phone : +33 (0) 1 40 79 43 02

To contact us