The Institute for Neurosciences of Montpellier (INM) is the Joint Research Unit U1298 Inserm/University of Montpellier. It comprises 8 Inserm teams and a staff of 200 personnel working on sensory-motor deficits and neurodegeneration. INM aims to gather fundamental and translational research to study the development, synaptic plasticity and integration, and neurodegenerative processes leading to disorders of the central and sensory-motor systems.
Our fundamental research is the ground for the development of innovative therapeutic (cell and gene therapy) and diagnostic (genetics and proteomics) strategies for hereditary retinal and optic nerve blindness, corneal damages, auditory neuropathy (deafness and tinnitus), somatosensory diseases (touch and pain), sleep disorders, cognition disorders (autism, schizophrenia, environmental stress) and neurodegenerative diseases (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease).
Research, from the molecular level to the integrated system, is conducted using cutting-edge technical platforms (functional analysis, stem cell and organoids, neurogenetics, proteomics, biostatistics and epidemiology, photonic and electronic imaging). Our translational research is based on strong interactions with clinical services (neurology, ophthalmology, ENT). We benefit from the support of patient associations and interact constructively with industry.
The INM is committed to the development of eco-responsible research
Using CRISPR/Cas9 to mediate allele-specfic knockout as a treatment for autosomal dominant retinitis pigmentosa
Identification of a new gene causing both dominant and recessive forms of the most frequent blinding inherited disorder: retinitis pigmentosa
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.
As a way to address important and common issues linked to our research and the functioning of the institute, we created different committees.
Our new team is focusing on the pathophysiological mechanisms, methods of detection and therapeutic approaches of proteinopathies (Prions, Alzheimer's, Parkinson...). At the molecular and cellular level, we will study the conversion of soluble proteins to pathological aggregates and the environmental factors influencing this process. The detection of these different protein forms, notably by proteomics approaches, will be performed in biological samples from patients. Cellular and in vivo (mouse) stem cell related approaches, both as experimental models (IPSC) and as a main topic of investigation (neurogenesis, cell therapy, environmental pollutants) will be also at the center of our research as follows. Three main research aims with referent PI but actually involving the whole team in a complementary fashion are described below.