Overview of the Unit

Unit of Neuroscience, Information et Complexity (UNIC, FRE CNRS 3693)

Website: https:/www.unic.cnrs-gif.fr

Contact: Daniel E. Shulz, shulz@unic.cnrs-gif.fr

UNIC is an interdisciplinary research unit in neuroscience composed of six teams collectively engaged in a multi-scale study of the brain to identify computational principles and mechanisms in thalamocortical networks, and to understand the roles of intrinsic and evoked neuronal activity in the emergence of high-level brain functions.

Our interdisciplinary research - applied to a diversity of mammalian models (mouse, rat, cat, ferret and non-human primates in the near future) - is centered on three closely linked scientific axes: i) the synaptic and neuronal mechanisms involved in cortical and subcortical sensory information processing (audition, touch, vision) and perception, and their plasticity; ii) the dynamics of internally generated brain states (like attention, wakefulness or sleep) and their impact on information processing and cognitive brain functions; and iii) the neuronal mechanisms of sensorimotor integration and learning and of motor behavior (including brain-machine interfaces approaches).

UNIC teams use experimental, computational and theoretical approaches, combining neuroscience, physics, applied mathematics and neuroinformatics, at multiple scales (cell, network, behavior) and organizational levels (micro, meso and macro-scales).

Techniques and methodologies at UNIC range from multiscale electrophysiology (intracellular sharp and patch recordings, dynamic clamp in vivo and in vitro, multiple simultaneous single unit recordings and local field potentials), network functional imaging (two-photon and voltage-sensitive dye imaging, combined with optogenetics) and behavioral/psychophysical measurements to large scale databases of correlates between structure and function, and different modeling approaches, such as biophysical, single-cell and network models, data-driven computational simulations, and theoretical models inspired from statistical physics.

UNIC is presently composed by 40 researchers and technicians, grouped in 6 scientific teams and 1 administrative/technical team.

  • Team 1: Visual cognitive sciences (Dir. Y. Frégnac)
  • Team 2: Somatosensory processing, neuromodulation and plasticity (Dir. D. Shulz)
  • Team 3: Neurocybernetics of thalamic and cortical networks (Dir. T. Bal)
  • Team 4: Computational Neurosciences and thalamo-cortical dynamics (Dir. A. Destexhe)
  • Team 5: Neuroinformatics for data-driven modeling and neuromorphic computing (Dir. A. Davison)
  • Team 6: Cortical processing of multisensory integration and amodal perception (Dir. B. Bathellier)

The research at UNIC is supported by the CNRS, the Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR), Idex grants from Paris-Saclay (NeuroSaclay and I-Code), EC-grants from the Future Emerging Technology (FET) Directorate of the European Brain Community, and the « Human Brain Project » Flagship. UNIC is also in charge of two international antennae, the French node of the International Neuroinformatics Coordinating Facilities (INCF) (dir : Yves Frégnac and Andrew Davison) and the European Institute of Theoretical Neuroscience (EITN, dir: Alain Destexhe).

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