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You are here: FRIAS Fellows Fellows 2016/17 Prof. Jean-Christophe Cassel

Prof. Jean-Christophe Cassel

Université de Strasbourg,
Laboratory of Cognitive and Adaptive Neurosciences (LNCA)
External Senior Fellow
October 2015 - September 2017


I was born on July 22nd, 1962, in Strasbourg (France). I got my PhD in 1990 and my qualification for a professorship in 2000, both at the University of Strasbourg. I have been researcher (1991-2002) and research director (2002-2009) at CNRS, before becoming professor at the University of Strasbourg (in 2009). I spent two years as an Alexander von Humboldt fellow at the Institut of Pharmacology of the University of Freibug-im-Breisgau (1991 and 2002). I am head of the LNCA since January 2013. In this laboratory, the research group I am co-heading with Dr Anne-Laurence Boutillier aims to contribute to a better understanding of the dynamics of memory systems in the rat, especially of trace consolidation and retrieval mechanisms, including at molecular and systems levels.  I am co-author on about 180 publications in international peer-reviewed scientific journals.

Selected Publications

  • LOUREIRO M, CHOLVIN T, LOPEZ J, MERIENNE N, LATRECHE A , COSQUER B, GEIGER K, KELCHE C, CASSEL JC, PEREIRA de VASCONCELOS A (2012) The ventral midline thalamus (reuniens and rhomboid nuclei) contributes to the persistence of spatial memory in rats. Journal of Neuroscience 32, 9947-9959, 2012.
  • CHOLVIN T, LOUREIRO M, CASSEL R, COSQUER B, GEIGER K, DE SA NOGUERA D, RAINGARD H, ROBELIN L, KELCHE C, PEREIRA DE VASCONCELOS A, CASSEL JC. The ventral midline thalamus contributes to strategy shifting in a memory task requiring both prefrontal and hippocampal functions. The Journal of Neuroscience 33, 8772-8783, 2013.
  • CASSEL JC, PEREIRA DE VASCONCELOS A, LOUREIRO M, CHOLVIN T, DALRYMPLE-ALFORD JC, VERTES R. The reuniens and rhomboid nuclei: neuroanatomy, electrophysiological characteristics and behavioral implications. Progress in Neurobiology 111, 34-52, 2013.
  • FAURE JB, MARQUES-CARNEIRO JE, AKIMANA G, COSQUER B, FERRANDON A, HERBEAUX K, KONING E, BARBELIVIEN A, NEHLIG A, CASSEL JC. Attention and executive functions in a rat model of chronic Epilepsy. Epilepsia 55, 644-653, 2014.
  • PEREIRA DE VASCONCELOS A, CASSEL JC. The nonspecific thalamus: A place in a wedding bed for making memories last? Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews 54, 175-196, 2015.



Deep brain stimulation of the ventral midline thalamus to boost memory vividness over time

Memories hold where we come from, define who we are and construct our projects. Beside other cognitive implications (strategy selection, encoding of memory details), the reuniens and rhomboid nuclei of the ventral midline of the thalamus play a crucial role in consolidation of memories at systems-level, hence in their persistence. This is related to their connectivity with the medial prefontal cortex (mPFC) and the hippocampus. Our project will focus on the interplay between the ventral midline nuclei rhomboid and reuniens and memory functions, which are dependent on their reciprocal connections with the hippocampus and mPFC. Our hypothesis is that the precision or/and vividness over time of recent memory traces will be differentially affected by electrical stimulation of the nucleus rhomboid/reuniens due to the effects of DBS. The project aims to i) refine the targeting of the rhomboid and reuniens nuclei in a rat model, ii) develop and construct flexible stimulation devices, iii) set up stimulation parameters for DBS, iv) test these parameters in the rat model and measure their effects using functional imaging (immediate early gene expression), electrophysiological recording and memory tests (in the double-H and Morris water mazes). Knowledge gained from this study may provide a platform for recovery of function approaches in humans suffering amnesia as a consequence of e.g., stroke or neurodegenerative diseases.