A number of developmental disorders, in particular in the field of psychiatry and neurology, are thought to result from brain wiring defects. This is the case for mental retardation or autism-spectrum disorders, but also concerns non-cognitive pathologies such as visual defects in albinism. Formation of brain circuits is a complex process implying many sequential steps from the generation of neurons, their migration and axonal growth, and the establishment of selective synaptic connections. Refinement and consolidation of neural circuits continue during late periods of development, after birth, when the brain is the most plastic and likely to be modified by the environment with lasting effects on behaviour. Research in the team aims to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying the formation of brain circuits, along 3 main themes :
1° Migration of cortical interneurons : this theme is led by Christine Métin, focusing on the role of sonic hedgehog in cilia , using advanced live imaging methods.
2° Development of retinal visual pathways : this theme is led by Alexandra Rebsam focusing on the role of axon guidance molecules, neural activity and and neurotransmission in the establishment of visual maps. For more information, www.rebsam.org
3° Development of serotonin systems : this theme is led by Patricia Gaspar, focusing on the development of raphe and prefrontal cortical circuits influenced by serotonin and the effects of early life stress.