The Institute for Neurosciences of Montpellier (INM) is dedicated to basic research on transduction, integration and disorders of sensory and motor systems. The INM houses several teams working on vision, hearing, somatosensory wiring and myelination. Molecular to systems level investigations are carried-out through core technical facilities (Functional analysis, histology, photonic imaging and electron microscopy), which are open to academic and private users outside the INM. Our outputs favor the development of new treatments for sensory and motor deficits, with a strong interest in inherited retinal and optic blindness, auditory neuropathies (deafness and tinnitus), neurodegenerative diseases (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, giant axonal neuropathy), somatosensation disorders (touch and pain) and glial pathologies (gliomas, GAN and Charcot Marie Tooth disease). Translational research relies on strong interactions with the clinical departments (Ophthalmology, ENT, Neurology, Neurosurgery) and start-up companies, which stem emerged from our laboratory (Sensorion, Horama, BetaInov, Biodol therapeutics).
Approximately one half of blind people suffer from untreatable conditions. These are degenerations of the nervous part of the eye, especially the retina, which generates electrical current from light stimulation and the optic nerve, which transmits the current to the brain where the image is interpreted. Retinal and optic nerve degenerations are at the frontiers of medicine. Indeed, neuron replacement still remains a challenge and it is impossible to re-connect a severed optic nerve, which prevents the graft of an eye. These very severe conditions lead to visual loss, generally in a progressive manner but sometimes already from birth, and in most cases are irreversible. We therefore need to design and validate new treatments, which will prevent the progression of the disease towards vision loss. One also must try to repair lesions to restore vision.
Our goal is to unravel the mechanisms of deafness and tinnitus to envision therapies. This requires i) the analysis of animals mutant that recapitulate human auditory deficits, ii) to decipher the sound encoding process and iii) to develop new diagnostic tools for auditory disorders screening.
Sentient animals have the ability to feel touch and painful stimuli, to sense cold and hot, to respond to aversive stimuli by adaptive reflexive movements. These fundamental activities, essential for survival, are encoded by neuronal circuits that link the somatosensory (body sense) and motor systems (appropriate action). We study how these interlinked systems are established during development and how they function in the normal and pathological states.
Our mission is to 1) understand how the cellular environment contributes to the degeneration of motoneurons in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and other motoneuron disorders
2) develop new therapeutic strategies.
Our research is carried out by a multidisciplinary team of neurobiologists, electrophysiologists, immunologists, clinicians, and geneticists.
In vertebrate, axons are insulated by myelin sheaths which enable the rapid saltatory propagation of the action potentials and provide them with a metabolic support. The myelin is formed by glial cells: Schwann cells in peripheral nervous system and oligodendrocytes in central nervous system. In several human pathologies, either the structure or the physiology of myelinated axons is altered leading to axonal defects, conduction slowing or conduction loss.
We aim to 1) understand how the glial cells contribute to the metabolic support of myelinated axons in health and disease.
2) to develop new therapeutic strategies for demyelinating and axonal disorders.