Dr. Nathalie Rochefort Centre for Integrative Neurophysiology – Centre for Neuroregeneration University of Edinburgh

  • Young Investigator

Functional Connectivity in Sensory Cortical Circuits

  • Centre for Integrative Neurophysiology
  • [email protected]
  • + 44 131 650 3107
  • United Kingdom

About Dr. Nathalie Rochefort

Our research topic is to understand how brain neuronal networks represent the outside world and how experience durably modifies the activity of such networks.

Brain functions such as sensations and thoughts depend on the coordinated activity of neuronal networks in precise spatial and temporal sequences. The aim of my research group is to reveal the mechanisms underlying such coordinated cortical activity. We are using the first cortical area reached by visual inputs, 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, our current projects investigate:

- how behavioral 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, we apply 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.

For further information, please also see: http://www.ed.ac.uk/schools-departments/integrative-physiology/staff-profiles/nathalie-rochefort/

5 Selected Publications

Grienberger C., Rochefort NL., Adelsberger H., Henning HA., Hill DN., Reichwald J., Staufenbiel M., Konnerth A. (2012) Staged decline of neuronal function in vivo in an animal model of Alzheimer’s Disease. Nat. Comm. , 3:774.

Rochefort NL., Narushima M., Grienberger C., Marandi N., Hill DN., Konnerth A. (2011) Development of direction-selectivity in mouse cortical neurons, Neuron, 71 (3) :425-32.

Jia H., Rochefort NL., Chen X., Konnerth A. (2011) Dendritic organization of sensory input to cortical neurons in vivo. Nat. Protoc. , 6 (1) : 28-35.

Jia H., Rochefort NL., Chen X., Konnerth A. (2010) Dendritic organization of sensory input to cortical neurons in vivo. Nature , 464 (7293) : 1307-12.

Rochefort NL., Garaschuk O., Milos RI., Narushima M., Marandi N., Pichler B., Kovalchuk Y., Konnerth A. (2009) ´Sparsification´ of neuronal activity in the visual cortex at eye-opening. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U S A ,  106 (35) : 15049-54.

Awards, Fellowships and Honours

2014-2019   Sir Henry Dale fellowship from the Wellcome Trust and the Royal Society
2014-2018   Marie Curie Career Integration Grant, European funding
2014:          Marie Curie Intra-European fellowship for Career Development for the post-doctoral fellow, Dr Janelle Pakan,
2013-present: Chancellor’s fellow, University of Edinburgh, UK. 
2013            Schilling Research Award of the German Neuroscience Society 2013
2011            Bernard Katz Lecture Award (with Alexander von Humboldt travel grant)
2005            Research Grant from the French National Federation for the Blind and Visually Disabled People (until 2006)
2002            3-Year Ph.D. Scholarship from the French Ministry of Research and Education
2002            DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) Scholarship for Studying in Germany

Technical Expertise

  1. Primary visual cortex
  • Development of cortical visual properties
  • Neuronal integration of synaptic inputs
  • Functional cortical connectivity
  • Two-photon imaging
  • In vivo imaging and electrophysiology