Dr Nathalie Rochefort is a Sir Henry Dale Fellow and Chancellor’s Fellow at the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Discovery Brain Sciences.
Dr Rochefort started her research group in 2013 at the Centre for Integrative Physiology at the University of Edinburgh. She is a sensory neuroscientist whose goal is to understand how neuronal activity in the brain underlies our perceptions and actions.
The global aim of her research group is to understand how brain neuronal networks represent the outside world and how experience modifies the activity of such networks. She is using the primary visual cortex as a model system of cortical integration.
By using two-photon calcium imaging combined with electrophysiological recordings in awake behaving mice, her current projects investigate:
– how behavioural context modulates neuronal activity in the primary visual cortex
– which mechanisms underlie the action of neuromodulators in cortical networks
– how visual experience durably modifies the activity of cortical neuronal networks.
Using such information, her group applies the same combination of methods to study how this network activity is disrupted in the brain of mouse models for autistic spectrum disorders and intellectual disabilities. Current projects aim at testing whether and how the activity of specific classes of inhibitory neurons is disrupted in a mouse model of fragile x, the most widespread single-gene cause of autism and in another mouse model of intellectual disability, namely a heterozygous null mutation in syngap.