Clara Dussaux

Long-term functional connectivity dynamics during brain development


Her background

October 2020 - present | CENTURI Postdoctoral fellow

2015 - 2019 | PhD in Optics and Neurosciences - ENS de Paris & CRI (France)

2013 - 2014 | MSc Macroscopic Physics and Complexity - ENS de Paris (France)

2011 - 2013 | BSc in Physics - ENS de Lyon (France)

About her Postdoctoral project

Networks defined by sets of nodes and links conveniently represent many natural and human-made systems. Most studies still focus, however, on static networks, and the field of temporal networks, whereby the links evolve in time, is far from mature. In particular, while static network representations have led to many interesting insights into the structure and dynamics of the brain at different scales, the study of the dynamics of the functional connectivity between neurons is often seen as the next frontier. In this respect, the study of developing brain networks is particularly appealing: (1) their functional link dynamics can be studied on an extended timescale (days); (2) their functional structure is a biomarker of physiological brain growth; (3) their functional connectivity evolution is now experimentally accessible in vivo with all-optical approaches.

In this context, the Cossart lab has collected an imaging dataset tracking the identity and activity of thousands of active neurons in the cortex of mouse pups, from early development into adulthood. The project consists in (i) an in-depth analysis of this dataset, which will require the development of new adequate temporal network tools and the characterization of highly connected cells (hubs), (ii) the design of a temporal network model to describe the network evolution and (iii) the formulation of experimentally testable predictions concerning the rules of connectivity evolution and the emergence of hub nodes.