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

After an international experience, I arrived in Bordeaux in 2014 as a postdoctoral fellow for the IdEx attractiveness campaign in the team led by Yann Humeau at the Interdisciplinary Institute of Neuroscience (IINS). I was recruited the same year as a researcher at the CNRS and IdEx transformed my post-doctorate into a Visiting Chair. The following year, I obtained an ANR young researcher funding and a Marie-Curie fellowship, and was named Laureate of the National Academy of Medicine. Now, I'm running my own group within IINS with ERC Starting Grant funding (2016-2021). The "Multimodal In vivo Neurophysiology Department" (MIND) is a shared space that brings together many in vivo skills (surgery, behavior, imaging, etc.) off ering a unique environment for studying the cortical mechanisms of associative learning in awakened animals. Thanks to the joint support of IdEx, LabEx BRAIN, the European Union and the CNRS, I am able to use my skills in optogenetics, electrophysiology, and imagery in live animals within the rich and dynamic neuroscience community of Bordeaux.

Frédéric Gambino,
CNRS researcher and researcher in neurophysiology at the Interdisciplinary Institute of Neuroscience (IINS) Bordeaux Neurocampus

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2017, année de la structuration de la communauté bordelaise des neurosciences2017, année de la structuration de la communauté bordelaise des neurosciences

L’année 2017 a été marquée par la sortie de terre du « vaisseau amiral » des neurosciences bordelaises. Basé sur le Campus Carreire, ce bâtiment propose des équipements et un environnement de travail dignes des plus grands centres mondiaux. Il accueille deux unités de recherche, l’Institut interdisciplinaire de neurosciences (IINS) et l’Institut des maladies neurodégénératives (IMN) ainsi qu'une plateforme technologique, le Bordeaux Imaging Center (BIC). Au-delà des murs, cette installation concrétise l’unification des forces de recherche bordelaisesen neurosciences dont le LabEx BRAIN est l’une des figures de proue. Pensée il y a près de 20 ans, la structuration de cette communauté prend corps en 2017 avec l’inauguration du Centre Broca Nouvelle-Aquitaine, leCongrés inaugural Bordeaux Neurocampus et l’accueil de NeuroFrance 2017. Le...

Structuration unifiée des unités composant le LabEx

Cette structuration était une des conditions nécessaires à la réussite du projet scientifique. L’année 2016 a vu la concrétisation de l’appartenance à une communauté soudée avec l’achèvement de la construction du bâtiment de neurosciences et l’installation en son sein de 2 unités et d’une plateforme. Dans ce sens, une stratégie commune de communication entre l’ensemble des laboratoires a été pensée et mise en œuvre durant 2016 pour que 2017 soit l’année des Neurosciences à Bordeaux, avec comme événements phares le colloque inaugural international et l’accueil de NeuroFrance 2017. Le rayonnement international de notre communauté a pu être mesuré de part l’immense succès qu’a eu l’appel international à candidature pour des chefs d’équipes.


Objectif: set up a platform of instrumental and procedural innovations in experimental psychopathology.

Under the leadership of Véronique Deroche-Gamonet.

OptoPath is a major and decisive technological advance in identifying new therapeutic targets against four major psychological disorders:

  • addiction
  • obesity
  • anxiety
  • memory deficiency

OptoPath brings together the expertise of neurobiologists, electrophysiologists and experimental psychologists.

They are concentrating their efforts on the following points:

  • Innovative behavioral models in rodents for these common psychopathologies presenting complex behavioral disorders. In order to come as close as possible to human symptomatology, the diagnostic criteria and clinical characteristics of the pathologies under consideration have been reproduced in rodents.
  • Cutting-edge tools for neurobiological research associating technologies such as multi-site electrophysiology, optogenetics and deep cerebral vascular imaging.


Platform OptoPath

Neurocentre Magendie
146 rue Léo Saignat
33077 Bordeaux


34 units of neurobiological study instruments 2 industrial partners
450 m² of space for experiments
116 behavioral study units in animals and humans
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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Workshops organized by the Bordeaux Neurocampus School of Neurosciences as part of the CAJAL SchoolsWorkshops organized by the Bordeaux Neurocampus School of Neurosciences as part of the CAJAL Schools

Unique and innovative, OptoPath’s cutting-edge equipment enables complex investigations of cerebral function, in real time, in rodents. We offer training to a wide variety of participants. Thus, in 2016, OptoPath offered workshops as part of two CAJAL Schools organized by the Bordeaux Neurocampus School of Neurosciences[Nutrition and Brain functions (19/09 to 7/10/2016), Hippocampus: from circuits to cognition (10 to 31/10/2016)]. OptoPath also contributes to continuing education: ten researchers from five different countries took part in the course entitled “Optogenetics coupled with in vivo electrophysiology” organized in November 2016.


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.

Excellence facility run by Pierre Philip, professor of sleep neurophysiology.


Jacques Taillard
Research engineer


Four pieces of cutting-edge equipment for simulation and virtual reality  A 150m² platform and dedicated technical and clinical research personnel “Biomedical Research Center” certification awarded by the Nouvelle-Aquitaine Regional Health Agency (ARS)
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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Involvement in the Peugeot-Citroën “Automotive Electronics and Systems” OpenLab

Our team and the PHENOVIRT equipment, particularly the driving simulators, are part of the Human Factors element of the PSA OpenLab. The objective of the OpenLab is to encourage the emergence of an intelligent, connected car and the specific objectives of the human factors element are to: monitor the driver’s cognitive, physiological and psychological state, develop new sensors to improve well-being and safety while driving, particularly when the driver takes back control of the vehicle, and develop man-machine interfaces for autonomous vehicles. With funding from a CIFRE (Industrial Agreements for Learning through Research) grant, we will identify the behavioral and physiological markers of inattention/distraction at the wheel in order to predict the quality of taking back control of driving in a level three automation situation, which corresponds to limited autonomous (“eyes off”) driving: the driver must be able to take back control of the vehicle when conditions for autonomous driving are no longer met.

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.