Cortical Dynamics and Sensory Mechanisms


Research center

45 rue d’Ulm
75230 Paris
Marc Mézard


Ecole Normale Supérieure
Université Pierre et Marie Curie


Institut de Biologie de l'ENS IBENS
U1024 UMR8197
Labex Memolife, Programme France Bio-Imaging, NIH Brain Initiative 2017


Integrative neuroscience
Tactile sensory modality
Barrel cortex
Two-photon fluorescence microscopy
Adaptive optics


L. Estebanez, J. Bertherat, D.E. Shulz, L. Bourdieu, J.-F. Léger, High order statistics of naturalistic stimuli are orderly mapped in the primary somatosensory cortex, (2016) Nature Comm. 7:13528.

J. Wang, J.-F. Leger, J. Binding, C. Boccara, S. Gigan and L. Bourdieu, Measuring aberrations in the rat brain by coherence-gated wavefront sensing using a Linnik interferometer, Biomed. Opt. Exp. (2012) 3(10) 2510-25.

V. Szabo*, C. Ventalon*, V. De Sars, J. Bradley, and V. Emiliani, “Spatially selective photoactivation with computer generated holography and functional fluorescence imaging in freely behaving mice with a fiberscope”, Neuron, 84 (6), 1157-1169. (2014) * Equal contribution.

S. Schott, J. Bertolotti, J.F. Léger, L. Bourdieu and S. Gigan, Characterization of the angular memory effect of scattered light in biological tissues. Opt. Exp. 23(10) (2015) 13505-16, arXiv:1502.00270.

W. Akemann, J.-F. Léger, C. Ventalon, B. Mathieu, S. Dieudonné and L. Bourdieu, Fast spatial beam shaping by acousto-optic diffraction for 3D non-linear microscopy, Opt. Express 23(22), 28191-28205 (2015).


Fields of research

Neurophysiology / systems neuroscience

Research Theme

We study the representation of sensory information in a cortical column by recording optically the activity of tens to thousands of neurons. We are interested in particular in the tactile information collected by the rodent whiskers and encoded in the barrel field of the primary somato-sensory cortex. Our work focuses on the coding of elementary stimuli at the scale of a single whisker and on the influence on this integration of the sensory context, which can be modulated e.g. by the spatio-temporal correlation of all whiskers.

To address these questions, our group develops new experimental tools that allow in two-photon fluorescence microscopy the optimal recording of neuronal network activity in vivo on anaesthetized or behaving animals: adaptive optics to improve imaging depth, ultrafast scans using acousto-optic deflectors to increase the temporal resolution of the recordings as well as their signal to noise ratio, and optical coherent tomography to visualize myelinated axons without labeling.

Team members

Wang Jinyu
Paresys Gérard
Léger Jean François
Ventalon Cathie