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University Paris Descartes

The Paris Descartes University (UPAD) includes a wide range of disciplines related to the study of Mankind in various dimensions: biological and cognitive development, social life, legal issues, physical well-being through sports, handicaps and illnesses and their treatments and the development of new drugs. Paris Descartes is the unique French university where human sciences, social sciences, medical sciences and natural sciences coexist. Research in the fields of biology and medicine are particularly developed and active. Within the consortium ,UPAD provides a training strongly oriented toward biological and medical activities. The department involved is the Biomedical Training and Research Unit, which offers to the students a close contact between physics, chemistry and molecular biology on one hand, and medical perspective on another hand.

Web site:

Biomedical studies  at the University Paris Descartes


Among the numerous research labs of the Biomedical faculty of Paris Descartes are:

Laboratory of Brain Physiology (Alain Marty, Director)

Understanding the human brain appears as a huge challenge for science. Although major advances have been obtained in recent years, it is likely that key aspects of cellular communication in the mammalian brain remain to be discovered. The unit develops its activity in this vast domain, analyzing how neuronal information is generated and processed. One present project focuses on the influence of axonic ionotropic receptors to the neurotransmitters GABA and glutamate on information processing in the axonal domain of brain neurons. Another project aims at characterizing the electrical activity of cerebellar interneurons in vivo. The laboratory develops new methods for the study of neuronal activity, in particular for the localized photostimulation of neuronal structures with light (caged compounds').

·       Electrophysiological techniques for electrical signal recording

·       Calcium imaging for the analysis of neural processes

·       Stimulation of exocytosis in single varicosities with calcium uncaging

·     Activation of postsynaptic receptors in single synapses with caged neurotransmitters

Laboratory of Neurophysiology & New Microscopies (Serge Charpak, Director)

The laboratory is structured in 5 teams with complementary expertise in physics and neuroscience. Neurobiologists study neurovascular coupling and network activity in the olfactory system (Charpak team), interactions between neurons, astrocytes and microglia (Audinat team) in physiological and pathological contexts, interactions between neurons and NG2 cells (Angulo team) and mechanisms governing gliotransmitter release by astrocytes (Oheim/Ropert team). The physicists (Emiliani team) focus on the development of advanced optical methods for wave-front engineering and their application in neuroscience.


Electrophysiological techniques in vitro (acute brain slices and cell cultures) and in vivo (anesthetized animals)two-photon imaging In vivo and in vitro of neuronal and glial networks and of blood flowMolecular biology and histochemical techniques for phenotyping single cells and cell populations in the brainTotal internal reflection fluorescence microscopy to study single-organelle dynamics and sub-cellular ion concentration microdomains Spatiotemporal control of neuronal activity by holographic photoactivation patterns based on one-photon holography and two-photon fluorescence microscopy using ultrashort pulse shapingSuper resolution microscopy (STED) beyond diffraction limit, and non-scanning microscopy techniques such as Structure Illumination Microscopy, or  Temporal Focusing..Microendoscopy for awake animal imaging and for deep imaging


·     Spectroscopies :NMR, ESR, Molecular spectroscopy, Circular dichroism, Fluorescence, UV, IR, Raman

·     Light-Matter Interactions

·     Physical Chemistry of tissue interface, biocompatibility

·     Cellular Signaling and gene regulation

·     Imaging and cellular electrophysiology

·     From neuron to neuronal networks

·     Neuron-glia interactions

·     Neurovascular coupling


Erasmus Mundus contacts
Prof. Alain MARTY 331 42 86 38 36,

General contact and address
Faculty Secretariate:
Centre Universitaire des Saints-Pères 
45 rue des Saints-Pères 75270
Paris Cedex 06 France
phone 331 42 86 22 33
fax 331 42 60 79 63
e-mail :

International Office
Vice Rector for Scientific Research and Foreign Relations
Professor Hamid Dhimane :
tel. 331 42 86 22 656