Neuroplasticity & Therapeutic

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Neuroplasticity & Therapeutic

The team’s research focuses on the use of pluripotent stem cells (embryonic or induced) to model human brain development and brain diseases such as Lesch-Nyhan disease, Phelan-McDermid syndrome and dystrophinopathies.

Our team is developing protocols to differentiate stem cells into different types of brain cells, including different types of neurons. We focus on reconstructing in vitro the key stages of human development and brain plasticity. These cellular models, in 2 or 3 dimensions, are then used to study the influence of genetic mutations that cause so-called neurodevelopmental diseases, which are characterized by severe neurological and psychiatric disorders in very young children. We are working in particular on genetic forms of autism spectrum disorders (SHANK3 mutations), on Lesch-Nyhan disease (HGPRT) and on neurological disorders found in certain forms of myopathies (Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophy, DMD gene mutations)


We use high-throughput, high-content screening techniques to identify pharmaceutical compounds that can correct the abnormalities caused by these different mutations, and then work in partnership with clinicians and industry to test these approaches in children affected by these diseases.

As part of our research on neurological damage associated with dystrophinopathies, we welcome Lise Morizur as a visiting associate researcher. Lise develops 3D models of muscle fibers. She benefits from our environment and our experience in 3D tissue culture and modeling for pharmacological research. In return, the 3D muscle models will allow us to delineate the specificities of the mechanisms of action of dystrophin isoforms in the brain.

Team members

Alexandra Benchoua

Team Manager (CECS)

Passionate about neuroscience and developmental biology, Alexandra’s work focuses on personalized medicine for patients suffering from rare neurological and psychiatric diseases.

Laure Chatrousse

Research associate (CECS)

Laure is working on the modeling of neuropsychiatric disorders associated with Phelan-McDermid syndrome and Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy using pluripotent stem cell derived neurons.

Claire Boissart

Engineer (CECS)

Claire works on Lesch-Nyhan disease via three different approaches: 2D and 3D in vitro modeling, a pharmacology approach and gene therapy.

Thifaine Poullion

Engineer (CECS)

Thifaine works on the modeling of neuropsychiatric disorders using 3-D systems such as organoids derived from pluripotent stem cells.


Pr. Thomas Bourgeron
Institut Pasteur, Human Genetics and cognitive function, CNRS URA 2182, Institut Pasteur, Paris, France.

ANR SynDivAutism : study of genes coding for synaptic proteins in autism spectrum disorders.

Pr Richard Delorme et Dr Anna Maruani
Hôpital Robert Debré, APHP, Paris, France

Clinical trial LISPHEM, Identifier: NCT04623398

Dr Amélie Piton
IGBMC, Strasbourg, France

Genetics of autism and intellectual disability disorders. Biological and hormonal factors influencing the expression of ASD.

Dr Gaelle Friocourt
Brest University, France

Genetics of neurodevelopmental disorders.

Dr Muriel Coulpier
ENVA, Maison-Alfort, France.

Emergence of equine zoonotic diseases. Study and treatment of equine encephalopathies transmissible to humans.

Dr Samia Martin
Généthon, Evry, France

Gene therapy of dopaminergic deficiency. AFM/IGNITION project: Lenti-LND.

Dr Laurent Villard
MMG, Marseille, France

ANR IMPROVE : Modeling and treatment of neonatal epileptic encephalopathy.

Dr Stéphane Chavanas
CHU Purpan, Toulouse, France

Modeling and treatment of in utero CMV infections.

Dr François Boussin
CEA, Fontenay aux roses, France

Brain organoids for modeling neurodevelopmental disorders and glioblastoma.

Dr Renata Santo
IPNP, INSERM UMRS 1622, France

ANR TreatBD : Pharmacological approach to lithium-resistant bipolar disorder.


How do gravity alterations affect animal and human systems at a cellular/tissue level?

21 October 2023

Cialdai Francesca,

Brown Austin M,

Baumann Cory W,

Angeloni Debora,

Baatout Sarah,

Benchoua Alexandra,

Bereiter-Hahn Juergen,

Bottai Daniele,

Buchheim Judith-Irina,

Calvaruso Marco,

Carnero-Diaz Eugénie,

Castiglioni Sara,

Cavalieri Duccio,

Ceccarelli Gabriele,

Choukér Alexander,

Ciofani Gianni,

Coppola Giuseppe,

Cusella Gabriella,

Degl'Innocenti Andrea,

Desaphy Jean-Francois,

Frippiat Jean-Pol,

Gelinsky Michael,

Genchi Giada,

Grano Maria,

Grimm Daniela,

Guignandon Alain,

Hahn Christiane,

Hatton Jason,

Herranz Raúl,

Hellweg Christine E,

Iorio Carlo Saverio,

Karapantsios Thodoris,

van Loon Jack,

Lulli Matteo,

Maier Jeanette,

Malda Jos,

Mamaca Emina,

Morbidelli Lucia,

van Ombergen Angelique,

Osterman Andreas,

Ovsianikov Aleksandr,

Pampaloni Francesco,

Pavezlorie Elizabeth,

Pereda-Campos Veronica,

Przybyla Cyrille,

Puhl Christopher,

Rettberg Petra,

Risaliti Chiara,

Rizzo Angela Maria,

Robson-Brown Kate,

Rossi Leonardo,

Russo Giorgio,

Salvetti Alessandra,

Santucci Daniela,

Sperl Matthias,

Strollo Felice,

Tabury Kevin,

Tavella Sara,

Thielemann Christiane,

Willaert Ronnie,

Szewczyk Nathaniel J,

Monici Monica,

NPJ microgravity

Establishment of heterozygous and homozygous SHANK3 knockout clonal pluripotent stem cells from the parental hESC line SA001 using CRISPR/Cas9.

01 October 2023

Chatrousse Laure,

Poullion Thifaine,

El-Kassar Lina,

Giraud-Triboult Karine,

Boissart Claire,

Sanatine Peggy,

Sommer Peter,

Benchoua Alexandra,

Stem cell research

Identification of signaling pathways modifying human dopaminergic neuron development using a pluripotent stem cell-based high-throughput screening automated system: purinergic pathways as a proof-of-principle.

01 January 2023

Boissart Claire,

Lasbareilles Marie,

Tournois Johana,

Chatrousse Laure,

Poullion Thifaine,

Benchoua Alexandra,

Frontiers in pharmacology