Physiopathology of psychiatric diseases

Our group is genuinely interested in the Pathophysiology of Psychiatric Disorders, investigating the molecular and cellular processes that are involved in the appearance of the main symptoms of these disorders. 

We are more precisely focusing on two devastating disorders, Schizophrenia and Major Depression, which respectively account worldwide for 1.5% and 20% of the people in the general population. To reach our objectives, we combined molecular, biochemical, electrophysiological and behavioral approaches. For these studies, we are generating original animal models with genetic engineering, and we used “state of the art” techniques, as optogenetic stimulations in the awake animal or miRNA transcriptomic analysis for example.

For depression, our fundamental and preclinical projects have already identified totally new mechanisms (oxidative stress, matricellular proteins, low-affinity monoamine transporters) contributing to individual vulnerability or resistance (resiliency) to stress and the etiology of depression. For schizophrenia, we are presently unraveling unsuspected effects of dopamine in brain areas that were poorly studied, and starting to understand precisely, at the cellular and network levels, how they are put into play.

The combination of our approaches will not only enriches our hypotheses, but will also offers a strong potential to recognize common mechanisms occurring in these two major psychiatric disorders. All our studies aim, at the mid-term, to be translated into experimental medicine protocols in collaboration with psychiatrists.