Genes and Dynamics of Memory Systems (Thomas Preat)



The drosophila brain is a fascinating biological object: although it contains a small number of neurons (about 100,000), it is highly structured and controls sophisticated behaviors. Furthermore, the drosophila brain uses the same building blocks as the mammals one (neurotransmitters, signal transduction cascades, transcription factors), and most of the molecular mechanisms underlying memory processes are conserved throughout evolution.

Our "Genes and Dynamics Memory of Systems" team studies the basic mechanisms of olfactory learning and memory. We develop an integrated approach ranging from molecular studies to behavioral analyses, through the functional study of networks. The genetic tools developed in drosophila allow us to vary at will the expression of genes of interest in the memory centers of the adult, and to manipulate the activity of specific neuronal networks during aversive or appetitive learning, consolidation or memory retrieval. Within neuronal networks, the activity of biochemical pathways of interest is studied using genetically-encoded fluorescent probes, whose activity is monitored in vivo by confocal or two-photon microscopy. In addition, we use Drosophila as a model system to study aspects of the pathophysiology of Alzheimer’s disease.

Our team wishes to welcome postdoctoral fellows from diverse backgrounds (molecular biologists, geneticists, neurobiologists ...).