Neuro‐functional Psychiatry

équipe PNFThe general objective of the team is to investigate the neuro‐functional basis of two main psychiatric disorders: Autism and Depression.
These pathologies are very costly to society. With approximately 67 million individuals affected worldwide, Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) is the fastest growing neurodevelopmental disorder (United Nations, 2011) with a prevalence estimated to be 1/100. According to the World Health Organization, Major Depression (MD) has already become the second most prevalent cause of illness‐induced disability (Ferrari et al., 2013) as it represents frequently diagnosed illness (12‐20% lifetime prevalence) and affects people from all ages and socio‐economic classes.
The team aims to identify the relevant brain circuits and key neurophysiological mechanisms underlying these two disorders and/or predicting non‐response to current therapies through a hypothesis‐driven strategy based on a combination of different cognitive neuroscience methods. This will help develop new markers to describe more homogeneous groups of patients to personalize treatment strategies based on these markers. Although the current international classifications of patient subgroups (ICD‐10, DSM‐5) does not yet account for neuro‐functional or biological differences, the team will use a translational and interdisciplinary approach to characterize dimensional differences in brain functions. The autism project uses a strategy based on cutting‐ edge methods to analyze neurophysiological signals and adopt a combinatorial approach to identify bioclinical signatures using multiple methods, ecological context and developmental trajectories. The depression project applies a translational strategy enabling a) a focus on specific markers predicting response/non‐response to antidepressant therapies, b) the design of innovative therapeutics and c) the study of the underlying mechanisms.
Both projects will apply methods developed by the other teams of the unit (PET, Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (MRS), genotype, metabolomics and ultrasound) to identify the relevant brain circuits and future molecular targets for innovative therapeutics at a biological level.