Eric Burguière, PhD, 41 y.o. is a young group leader of a research team located at the Brain and Spine institute in Paris, the largest research center combining neuroscience and clinical studies in France.
I have been trained as a neurophysiologist specialized in behavior, neuronal recording and optogenetic approaches with rodent models. I am currently focusing my research on the neurophysiology of adaptive behaviors, and more particularly on the regulation of repetitive behaviors in normal and pathological conditions.
During my PhD thesis at Collège de France (University Paris VI), I have accomplished behavioural studies with mutant mice and designed new paradigms to study motor adaptation to demonstrate the importance of cerebellar circuits in the optimization of trajectory during spatial navigation (Burguière et al., Nat Neurosci., 2005; Burguière et al., J Neurosci., 2010). Then, I spent my post-doctoral appointment in the Graybiel laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2007-2012), where I studied mouse models of disorders of motor and cognitive functions such as OCD-spectrum disorder, including the SAPAP3-KO mouse model (Burguière et al., Science, 2013). Importantly, I have been trained in electrophysiological recordings and optogenetics approaches, which serve to probe the pathophysiology of these disorders with exquisite resolution.
I then decided to devote my work toward more translational approach by joining a research team at the Brain and Spine Institute composed of clinicians and researchers, in the aim of confronting experiments in animal models with clinical studies in patients. I successfully obtained a tenured position in 2015 (CNRS, CR1 grade). I have established a behavioural, neurophysiological and optogenetic approach to study animal models of psychiatric diseases, with the long-term ambition of deconstructing the neuronal circuits underlying regulation of repetitive behaviours (RB) and eventually propose novel therapeutic hypotheses.
My expertise in the field using mouse models allowed me to implement, in close interaction with clinician/researcher in my group, an ambitious translational approach aiming at studying the neurophysiological and functional aspects of repetitive behaviors together in human and mouse models. We started by designing homologous behavioral paradigms both in human and mouse models to assess their face validity. Using optogenetics and electrophysiology in mouse models, I have a unique opportunity to causally test hypothesis on the neurophysiological substrates underlying the pathological repetitive behavior with a high level of circuit and cellular specificity. We are especially interested in studying how cortico-basal ganglia loops underlie these processes. We can probe these neural circuits by using electrophysiological recording and/or modulating their activity with electrical or optical stimulations. Indeed, repetitive behaviors are the hallmark of some related neuropsychiatric disorders, which offer a unique opportunity to explore the neurobiological mechanism underlying their regulation. In these pathologies, the inability to regulate the expression of learned behaviors often has deleterious behavioral consequences. We propose to use these pathological conditions in human and rodents as models to better understand the neurophysiology of adaptive behavior. Thus, within this research program my studies include the use of animal models (e.g. SAPAP3-KO mice) to model repetitive behaviors and study them at different macro (behaviour), meso (neural circuits) and micro (cellular) scales.
We have already demonstrated the potential and the feasibility of our translational approach by developing innovative setups to assess core symptoms that are present in pathological repetitive behaviours such as compulsions and tic-like behaviours but also more complex cognitive dimensions such as cognitive flexibility and uncertainty monitoring that could be affected in compulsive behaviours.