The research at ICN is centered on three linked scientific issues.
- The synaptic and neuronal mechanisms involved in cortical and subcortical sensory information processing (audition, touch, vision) and perception, and their plasticity.
- The impact of internally generated brain states (like attention, wakefulness or sleep) on subcortical and cortical sensory processing and cognitive abilities.
- The neuronal mechanisms of sensori-motor integration, learning and motor behavior, including subcortical nuclei, the spinal cord and the brain-machine interfaces.
The ICN teams use experimental, computational and theoretical approaches in an integrative and interdisciplinary context. The Neurosciences, Physics, Mathematics and Informatics are combined at different scales (cellular, network, behavior) and at different levels of organization (mico-, meso- and macro-scopic scales).
The interdisciplinary approaches of the ICN include:
- Multiscale electrophysiology: intracellular recordings, patch-dynamic clamp in vivo and in vitro, nerve recordings and electromyography, multiple single-unit recordings and LFP.
- The functional exploration of neuronal networks by imaging (mono- and bi-photonic calcium imaging in vitro and in vivo, voltage sensitive dyes) optogenetic and chemogenetic manipulations.
- Behavioral, motor, and psychophysical measurements.
- Tracing and manipulation tools for studying synaptic circuits (anterograde, retrograde and trans-neuronal viral vectors), and fluorescence 3D microscopy.
- Building and analysis of data bases correlating structure and function.
- The research on neuronal computational principles by theoretical neuroscience and data-driven computational modeling, as well as statistical physics and large scale simulations.
ICN is also in charge of two international antennae, the French node of the International Neuroinformatics Coordinating Facilities (INCF) (dir: Andrew Davison) and the European Institute of Theoretical Neuroscience (EITN, dir: Alain Destexhe).