Research activity

My research is centered on the study of the integrative properties of the cerebral cortex, with a particular focus on the processing of tactile sensory information. Using the mouse vibrissa system as a model, I study how complex tactile scenes are processed within the cortical network at the mesoscopic scale.

Using voltage sensitive dye imaging, eventually coupled with electrophysiology or optogenetics as needed, I seek to understand :

  • How the cortex extracts the global properties of the objects explored from complex multiwhisker sequences of tactile stimuli?
  • How the cortical activation induced by tactile stimuli is modulated by the behavior of the animal?
  • Is the somatosensory cortex able to generate waiting signals on the basis of the sensorimotor context?

Previously; I have achieved my PhD in 2003 at the ESPCI ParisTech while working with Dr. Bertrand Lambolez on cortical GABAergic interneurons. Using the single-cell RT-PCR technique in combination with patch-clamp recordings in acute cortical slices, I have demonstrated the specific synaptic activation of cortical VIP interneurons by afferent serotoninergic fibers via the ionotropic 5HT3 receptor. I then joined in 2004 the Laboratory of Sensory Processing directed by the Pr. Carl Petersen, at EPFL (Lausanne, Switzerland), where I have adapted the voltage sensitive dye imaging technique to study the cortical processing of sensory information in awake mice. This work revealed differential processing of sensory input depending upon behaviour. Moreover, it demonstrated that sensory processing in motor cortex may contribute significantly to active sensory perception. In 2007, I have integrated the Laboratory of Neurobiology of the ESPCI ParisTech, in the team “Physiologie des Interneurones” directed by Pr. Jean Rossier as a CNRS researcher fellow. There, my work was focused on the role of 5-HT3A expressing interneurons in the processing of sensory information. I finally joined the UNIC and the team “Sensory processing, neuromodulation and neural plasticity” directed by Daniel Shulz in 2011, attracted by the excellence of the multidisciplinary scientific environment, the expertise of the team in the field of tactile sensory processing, and the perspectives offered by the development of a unique multiwhisker stimulator.


Habilitation à Diriger des Recherches (2018) : Functional exploration of the cerebral cortex: From single neurons characterization to the visualization of evoked dynamics at the mesoscopic scale. Université Paris Saclay.

PhD (2003) : Functional characterization of a neocortical GABAergic interneuron population. Direction : Pr. Jean Rossier et Dr. Bertrand Lambolez. Allocation ministerielle de recherche. Université Paris VI.


  1. Hubatz S, Hucher G, Shulz DE, Férézou I. Spatiotemporal properties of whisker-evoked tactile responses in the mouse secondary somatosensory cortex. Scientific Reports. 2020 10:763 .

  1. Thion MS, Mosser CA, Férézou I, Grisel P, Baptista S, Low D, Ginhoux F, Garel S, Audinat E. Biphasic Impact of Prenatal Inflammation and Macrophage Depletion on the Wiring of Neocortical Inhibitory Circuits. Cell Rep. 2019 30;28(5):1119-1126.

  1. Vilarchao ME, Estebanez L, Shulz DE, Férézou I. Supra-barrel Distribution of Directional Tuning for Global Motion in the Mouse Somatosensory Cortex. Cell Rep. 2018 Mar 27;22(13):3534-3547.

  1. Estebanez L, Férézou I, Ego-Stengel V, Shulz DE. Representation of tactile scenes in the rodent barrel cortex. Neuroscience. 2018, 368:81-94.

  1. Férézou I, Deneux T. Review: How do spontaneous and sensory-evoked activities interact? Neurophotonics. 2017,4(3):031221.

  1. Raguet H, Monier C, Foubert L, Férézou I, Fregnac Y, Peyré G. Spatially Structured Sparse Morphological Component Separation for voltage-sensitive dye optical imaging. J Neurosci Methods. 2016, 257:76-96.

  1. Perronnet L*, Vilarchao ME*, Hucher G, Shulz DE, Peyré G, Férézou I. An automated workflow for the anatomo-functional mapping of the barrel cortex. J Neurosci Methods. 2016, 263:145-54.*Equal contribution.

  1. Thibault K, Rivière S, Lenkei Z, Férézou I, Pezet S*. Orofacial Neuropathic Pain Leads to a Hyporesponsive Barrel Cortex with Enhanced Structural Synaptic Plasticity. PLoS One. 2016 Aug 22;11(8):e0160786.*Equal contribution.

  1. Magnain C, Castel A, Boucneau T, Simonutti M, Férézou I, Rancillac A, Vitalis T, Sahel JA, Paques M, Atlan M. Holographic laser Doppler imaging of microvascular blood flow. J Opt Soc Am A Opt Image Sci Vis. 2014, 31(12):2723-35.

  1. Zhang Y, Bonnan A, Bony G, Férézou I, Pietropaolo S, Ginger M, Sans N, Rossier J, Oostra B, LeMasson G, Frick A. Dendritic channelopathies contribute to neocortical and sensory hyperexcitability in Fmr1(-/y) mice. Nat Neurosci. 2014, 17(12):1701-9

  1. Narboux-Nême N, Evrard A, Férézou I, Erzurumlu RS, Kaeser PS, Lainé J, Rossier J, Ropert N, Südhof TC, Gaspar P. Neurotransmitter release at the thalamocortical synapse instructs barrel formation but not axon patterning in the somatosensory cortex. J Neurosci. 2012, 32(18):6183-96.

  1. Perrenoud Q, Rossier J, Férézou I, Geoffroy H, Gallopin T, Vitalis T, Rancillac A. Activation of cortical 5-HT(3) receptor-expressing interneurons induces NO mediated vasodilatations and NPY mediated vasoconstrictions. Front Neural Circuits. 2012; 6:50.

  1. Vucurovic K*, Gallopin T*, Férézou I, Rancillac A, Chameau P, van Hooft JA, Geoffroy H, Monyer H, Rossier J, Vitalis T. Serotonin 3A receptor subtype as an early and protracted marker of cortical interneuron subpopulations. Cereb Cortex. 2010, 20(10):2333-47. *Equal contribution.

  1. Rancillac A, Lainé J, Perrenoud Q, Geoffroy H, Férézou I, Vitalis T, Rossier J. Degenerative abnormalities in transgenic neocortical neuropeptide Y interneurons expressing tau-green fluorescent protein. J Neurosci Res. 2010, 88(3):487-99.

  1. Lebeuf R, Férézou I, Rossier J, Arseniyadis S, Cossy J. Straightforward synthesis of the near-infrared fluorescent voltage-sensitive dye RH1691 and analogues thereof. Org Lett. 2009 Nov 5;11(21):4822-5.

  1. Férézou I, Haiss F, Gentet L, Aronoff R, Weber B, Petersen CCH. Spatiotemporal dynamics of cortical sensorimotor integration in behaving mice. Neuron. 2007, 56(5):907-923. Ce

  1. Férézou I, Hill EL, Cauli B, Gibelin N, Kaneko T, Rossier J, Lambolez B. Extensive Overlap of µ-Opioid and Nicotinic Sensitivity in Cortical Interneurons. Cereb Cortex. 2007, 17(8):1948-57.

  1. Berger T, Borgdorff A, Crochet S, Neubauer FB, Lefort S, Fauvet B, Férézou I, Carleton A, Lüscher HR, Petersen CCH. Combined voltage and calcium epifluorescence imaging in vitro and in vivo reveals subthreshold and suprathreshold dynamics of mouse barrel cortex. J Neurophysiol. 2007, 97(5):3751-62.

  1. Hill EL, Gallopin T, Férézou I, Cauli B, Rossier J, Schweitzer P, Lambolez B. Functional CB1 receptors are broadly expressed in neocortical GABAergic and glutamatergic neurons. J Neurophysiol. 2007, 97(4):2580-9.

  1. Férézou I, Bolea S, Petersen CCH. Visualising the cortical representation of whisker touch: voltage-sensitive dye imaging in freely moving mice. Neuron. 2006, 50(4):617-29.

  1. Férézou I, Cauli B, Hill E, Rossier J, Hamel E, Lambolez B. 5-HT3 receptors mediate serotonergic fast synaptic excitation of neocortical VIP/CCK interneurons. J Neurosci. 2002, 22(17):7389–7397.

Book Chapters

  1. Crochet S, Férézou I, Petersen CCH. Spontaneous activity in the rodent primary somatosensory cortex. Sous presse, dans : “Mechanisms of spontaneous active states in the neocortex”. Editions : Research Signpost (Kerala, India). Editeur en Chef: Igor Timofeev. ISBN 81-308-0175-2.
  2. Férézou I, Matyas F, Petersen CCH.Imaging the brain in action – real-time voltage-sensitive dye imaging of sensorimotor cortex of awake behaving mice. In: “In vivo optical imaging of brain function” edited by Ron Frostig. Publishers: CRC Press (Boca Raton, USA), 2009.