Jessica Pereira Silva

Behavioural grammar and synaptic rules of the social brain

Team: Pascale Chavis (INMED), Jean-Marc Freyermuth (I2M)

Her background

October 2023 - present | CENTURI PhD student

2020 - 2022 | Master in Neuroscience, Aix-Marseille University, Marseille, France

2017 - 2019 | Bachelor in Physiology and Neuroscience, Aix-Marseille University, Marseille, France

2015 - 2017 | PACES, Aix-Marseille University, Marseille, France

About her PhD project

The generation of adapted social behaviors is a fundamental aspect of brain function and is essential for the survival of many species by ensuring protection, access to food, care, and mating opportunities. Strikingly, deficiencies in social abilities often constitute core features of neuropsychiatric disorders. My enduring interest has been lying in comprehending the neurobiology of social behaviors both in health and disease. My training and professional background have cultivated a profound fascination with data science, particularly in the realms of machine learning and statistics. The objective of my PhD is to develop a quantitative framework for understanding social behavior and explore how the rules of the "social brain" are altered in psychiatric disorders such as autism and schizophrenia. I aim to unravel the intricate organization of complex social behavior, delineating a meaningful grammar, and pinpoint specific neural representations of grammar rules in both healthy and diseased conditions. To achieve this, cutting-edge statistical modeling and learning techniques will be employed to dissect natural social behavior in mice, examine neuronal ensemble activity in freely moving mice, and investigate genetic models of psychiatric disorders.