Cluster of Excellence BRAIN 

(Bordeaux Région Aquitaine Initiative for Neurosciences)

Facility of Excellence OptoPath

Facility of Excellence PHENOVIRT

(Human phenotyping and virtual reality)



Objective: addressing the major challenges facing neuroscience research by initiating multi-disciplinary projects with an international scope.

Under the leadership of Daniel Choquet.

BRAIN provides a tremendous opportunity to initiate new ideas and cross-functional projects, through a multi-disciplinary consortium of world-renowned scientists, in the aim of tackling the greatest challenges in neuroscience research. To that end, BRAIN has developed through the diversity and complementary expertise of its partners and teams in the following fields of application:

  • high-definition imaging
  • neuronal cell biology
  • physiology of neural networks
  • human and animal behavior
  • mechanisms of neurodegenerative and behavioral disorders

BRAIN also puts emphasis on technological development, the sharing of resources and education, through the international training center it has set up for neuroscience research – Ecole des neurosciences de Bordeaux (ENB).


Cluster BRAIN

Daniel Choquet

Directeur du LabEx


86 researchers out of a team of 393 people €1 million per year for shared technology platforms 37 projects 
554 publications, of which 30 directly stem from the projects funded 20 industrial partnerships €42 million in co-financing
4 ERC grants 2 CNRS medals  
Daniel Choquet,  directeur de recherche au CNRS et directeur de l’Institut Interdisciplinaire de Neurosciences (CNRS, université Bordeaux)© BRAIN

The BRAIN LabEx has played a crucial role in the emergence of cross-disciplinary collaborative projects between Bordeaux Neurocampus teams, as well as in the creation of the European School of neuroscience in Bordeaux, and in increasing the feeling of belonging to a cohesive community with an international scope.

Daniel Choquet,
Research Director at the CNRS and Director of the Interdisciplinary Institute for Neuroscience (CNRS, University of Bordeaux)

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The Bordeaux School of Neuroscience (BSN)Maquette de Neurocampus - © BRAINThe Bordeaux School of Neuroscience (BSN)

Unique in Europe, BSN aims to offer the international community a high-level technology platform, allowing the set-up of training in neuroscience research, based on experimental practice. On the strength of this distinctive asset, in July 2014 BSN entered into a partnership with FENS and IBRO – two of the major organizations dedicated to neuroscience research – for the launch of the Cajal Advanced Neuroscience Training Program. The School thus hosted the first two sessions of this program in 2015. Four more will be organised in 2016. The BRAIN LabEx is providing support of €1.7 million for this project. A large part of this funding is earmarked for the purchase of initial equipment and the running of the School of neuroscience. Additional support is guaranteed by IdEx Bordeaux (€100,000 for the first year) and other funding will...


Objective: establishing a platform for innovations in instruments and procedures in experimental psychopathology.

Under the leadership of Véronique Deroche-Gamonet.

OptoPath constitutes a major and decisive technological leap for the identification of new therapeutic targets against 4 major psychological disorders:

  • Addiction
  • Obesity
  • Anxiety-related disorders
  • Memory deficits

OptoPath combines the expertise of neurobiologists, electrophysiologists and experimental psychologists.

Their efforts are directed towards:

  • Innovative rodent behavioral models of these highly incident psychopathologies with complex behavioral disturbances. To be as close as possible from the human symptomatology, the diagnosis criteria and clinical characteristics of the pathologies of interest have been operationalized into rodents.
  • Cutting edge tools for neurobiological investigations coupling technologies such as multi-sites electrophysiology, optogenetics and deep brain vascular imaging.


Platform OptoPath

Neurocentre Magendie
146 rue Léo Saignat
33077 Bordeaux


8 academic research groups 3 industrial partnerships
4 targets: addiction, obesity, post-traumatic stress disorders, amnestic disorders associated with aging €6 million budget
Véronique Deroche-Gamonet, directrice de recherche Inserm au sein du laboratoire de Physiopathologie de la plasticité neuronale© OptoPath

OptoPath is dedicated to innovation in instruments and procedures. It seeks to understand psychopathological mechanisms and identify relevant therapeutic targets: the real-time recording and manipulation of the neuronal populations involved in the expression of pathological behaviors in rodents, with a high validity in translational terms.

Véronique Deroche-Gamonet,
Research Director of Inserm's Physiopathology of Neuronal Plasticity Unit

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COCADDICT: a transnational project for the translational study of addiction to cocaineFacilities of the OptoPath platform - ©OptoPathCOCADDICT: a transnational project for the translational study of addiction to cocaine

OptoPath provided decisive arguments that convinced key partners to take up the joint challenge of understanding the neuronal alterations involved in addiction. The COCADDICT consortium was founded and obtained funding of over €700,000 following a call for proposals from ERA-Net NEURON II. Coordinated by Véronique Deroche-Gamonet, this project involves a unique combination of neuro-imaging in humans (Professor Marco Leyton, Department of Psychiatry, McGill University, Montreal), neuro-imaging in rats (Professor Rainer Spanagel, CIMH, Heidelberg University, Mannheim) and the detailed analysis of neural circuits via electrophysiology and optogenetics (OptoPath, France).


Objective: simulating ecological environments in virtual reality to study the behavior of users, in situations such as sleep disorders, attentional disorders and cognitive disorders; increasing knowledge of those conditions in order to improve their treatment; using virtual reality technologies to analyze behaviors and create virtual agents for diagnostic purposes, healthcare and education.

Under the leadership of Pierre Philip.


Jacques Taillard
Research engineer


4 cutting-edge virtual reality simulators A 150m² platform and dedicated technical and clinical research personnel
4 industrial partnerships €3.5 million budget

Pr. Pierre Philip, directeur du laboratoire SANPSY

For doctors, this is diagnostic aid. For patients, it allows home-based care. In the case of symptoms such as excessive daytime sleepiness, the virtual doctor allows regular follow-up and can help to prevent accidents.

Pr. Pierre Philip,
Director of the SANPSY laboratory

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A virtual doctor to diagnose sleep disordersA virtual doctor to diagnose sleep disorders

Excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) affects 10% of the population. It can now be diagnosed by a virtual doctor developed by the Sleep, Attention and Neuropsychiatry Laboratory (SANPSY) of the University of Bordeaux. The team has developed an animated conversational agent (ACA) capable of conducting a clinical interview with a patient to diagnose EDS, based on a medically validated sleepiness scale (Epworth Sleepiness Scale). The results published in the scientific journal Presence revealed the tool’s high effectiveness, as 80% of the results matched those obtained by real doctors. Moreover, most of the subjects who tested the system found it a pleasant experience. Likewise, the diagnosis of depression is currently being validated and a new-generation ACA is being developed to work on the detection of addictions.