Alain Destexhe Team

Computational Neuroscience

In brief

The research conducted in Alain Destexhe’s laboratory stands at the interface between several disciplines, such as biophysics, physics, computer science and neuroscience. The themes investigated range from the microscopic (single neurons) to the macroscopic (networks or populations of neurons) aspects of the central nervous system function. At the single cell level, we use theoretical methods and computer-based simulation techniques to explore the complex behavior of cortical and thalamic neurons and understand their integrative properties. At the network level, we try to understand the collective behavior of neuronal populations, and how information is processed and represented. We also study the genesis of sleep rhythms, their physiological role and their perversion into pathological rhythms such as epileptic seizures.

Our research

We use different physical frameworks (such as electromagnetism theory) to understand the genesis of different brain signals, such as the extracellular electric potentials (LFP, EEG) or magnetic fields. Finally, we use theoretical frameworks (such as stochastic dynamical systems) to conceive methods to deduce hidden information in experimentally-recorded signals. This research is only possible through a very tight collaboration with experimentalists recording single cells (intracellular measurements) and network behavior (EEG, MEG, LFP and optical imaging). We actively collaborate with experimental groups in Europe, in USA as well as within the ICN. We encourage students to follow mixed projects combining both experimental and theoretical/computational components.

Our group also created and is animating the European Institute for Theoretical Neuroscience (EITN) in Paris and Gif sur Yvette. This institute is jointly financed by the Human Brain Project and the CNRS. The EITN is meant to be an incubator of ideas in theoretical neuroscience, through organizing workshops and hosting visitors, postdocs and students.

Selected Publications

• 1) Contreras, D., Destexhe, A., Sejnowski, T.J. and Steriade, M. Control of spatiotemporal coherence of a thalamic oscillation by corticothalamic feedback. Science 274: 771-774, 1996 DOI: 10.1126/science.274.5288.771

• 2) Destexhe, A., Rudolph, M. and Paré, D. The high-conductance state of neocortical neurons in vivo. Nature Reviews Neurosci. 4 : 739-751, 2003 DOI: 10.1038/nrn1198

• 3) Destexhe, A. and Contreras, D. Neuronal computations with stochastic network states. Science 314: 85-90, 2006 DOI: 10.1126/science.1127241

• 4) Zerlaut, Y. and Destexhe, A. Enhanced responsiveness and low-level awareness in stochastic network states. Neuron 94: 1002-1009, 2017 DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2017.04.001

• 5) Rebollo, B., Telenczuk, B., Navarro-Guzman, A., Destexhe, A. and Sanchez-Vives, M.V. Modulation of intercolumnar synchronization by endogeneous electric fields in cerebral cortex. Science Advances 7: eabc7772, 2021 DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abc7772

Team members

Team leader