Brain Dynamics Institute

Director : Viktor Jirsa

Faculté Médecine Timone
27 Bd Jean-Moulin
13005 Marseille


The Institut de Neurosciences des Systèmes (INS, UMR1106) is a multidisciplinary research institute of Inserm and Aix-Marseille University located on La Timone Campus in Marseille.

INS core faculty is composed of members of academic (Faculty) and clinical (APHM) institutions, as well as Inserm and CNRS researchers. INS research has been developed around a common concept, the dynamic brain, integrating experimental, theoretical and clinical approaches towards the understanding of brain function and dysfunction.

Pictures from the INS laboratory

Research teams

All INS teams are affiliated to the neuroscience master’s program and can thus train neuroscience master’s students and offer them projects to apply for a Ph.D. scholarship.

Theoretical Neuroscience (Viktor Jirsa)

The Theoretical Neuroscience Group aims at modelling the activity of the brain both in the normal and in the pathological case. For this purpose, we adopt a “multi-scale” approach. This means trying to understand the brain by binding in a single framework different resolution levels, and/or different time scales. This also means trying to unify different points of view, from mathematical theory of complex systems toward computer-based numerical simulations (looking at the ensemble activity from the graph of elementary components) and behavioral studies.

One of the objectives of the group is to study and understand some neuronal disorders (in particular epilepsy) seen as “dynamical disorder” (as a disorganization of the normal dynamical system).


Viktor Jirsa, Demian Battaglia, Marcel Carrere, Emmanuel Dauce, Alessandro Torcini, Jean-Luc Blanc, Marmaduke Woodman, Dionysios Perdikis, Spase Petkoski, Rita Sleimen-Malkoun, Andreas Spiegler, Mathieu Golos, Hester Knol, Timothee Proix, Marisa Saggio, Francesca Melozzi. Total : 3 HDRs.

Research axes

  • Spatiotemporal large-scale brain dynamics
  • Mathematical and computational models of brain networks
  • Virtual brain
  • Data analysis methods of brain activity
  • Resting-state activity
  • Emergence of brain functions


  • Medical data analysis
  • Numerical simulations


    brain networks, dynamical system, virtual brain, computational neuroscience, epilepsy, resting state activity
Computational neuroscience - Disorders of the nervous system - Novel methods and technology development

Dynamics of cognitive processes (Daniele Schön)

The “Dynamics of Cognitive processes” team is dedicated to the study of the neural basis of memory, language, music and sensori-motors networks. The team results from an innovative combination of researchers and clinicians fromresearch unit U751, INCM and APHM (Clinical Neurophysiology, Neurology and Neuropsychology and Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology Departments).
The objectives of this team are to study the neural network dynamics of visual and auditory memory and sensorimotor behavior, with a particular attention to linguistic and musical processing.
We are particularly interested in fast changes in network state induced by different sensorimotor and cognitive behaviors as well as long-term reorganization/rehabilitation in pathology. Moreover, electrical or transcranial magnetic stimulation, by inducing a short and reversible disruption of the network state, will provide additional information on the neuroplastic properties of the structures belonging to a particular network. In addition, the study of brain-damaged subjects is expected to contribute to the understanding of the dynamic properties of functional networks.


Daniele Schön, Mireille Bonnard, Mathieu Ceccaldi, Patrick Chauvel, Olivier Félician, Catherine Liégois-Chauvel, Agnès Trébuchon, Jean-Michel Triglia, Mira Didic, Natalina Gour, Aileen McGonigal, Stéphane Roman, Eve Tramoni-Nègre, Patrick Marquis, Francesca Bonini, Bastien Intartaglia, Céline Hidalgo. Total : 5 HDRs.

Research axes

  • Spatio-temporal dynamics of memory in the healthy and brain-damaged subjects (degenerative desease)
  • Sensorimotor grounding of language and music
  • Cochlear implanted congenitally deaf children
  • From intention to action: cognitive integration within the cortical sensorimotors networks


  • Psychophysical tests
  • Brain imaging and stimulation – Man (fMRI, TMS…)
  • Electroencephalography (EEG)
  • Magnetoencephalography


Music, language, memory, cognition, cortex, transcranial stimulation, plasticity, behavior, sensorimotor networks, epilepsy, deafness, Alzheimer’s disease

Disorders of the nervous system - Excitability, synaptic transmission, network functions - Human cognition and behavior - Motor systems - Sensory systems

Physiology and physiopathology of brain networks (PhysioNet) (Christophe Bernard)

The PHYSIONET team is interested in the rules that govern the emergence of activities within neural networks. We use a comprehensive, multi-level approach, from gene/protein to behavior. Our research is multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary. Our research focuses on specific issues: the anatomic/molecular organization of neuronal networks (a must to understand the function of these networks), the coupling between metabolism and neuronal activity, and information processing performed by individual neurons and the networks they form, and cognitive functions.
All components of the team have a common interest in epilepsy. We use the study of this pathology as a way to better understand physiology. Therefore, physiology and pathology are not addressed independently. This concept is at the heart of our scientific approach. Thus, we adopt a multi-scale approach. We try to understand brain function by connecting within the same conceptual framework, different levels of resolution, including the theory of complex systems and numerical simulations.

To address some issues, we are developing new technologies based on organic electronics to record electrophysiological and molecular signals


Christophe Bernard, Fabrice Bartolomei, Driss Boussaoud, Piotr Bregestovski, Monique Esclapez, Martine Gavaret, Jean Regis, Yuri Zilberter, Antoine Ghestem, Anton Ivanov, Svetlana Buldakova, Ana F. Vicente, Olena Gubkina, Attila Kaszas, Pascale Quilichini, Andrea Slezia, Huifang Wang, Adam Williamson, Stefania Zappettini, Wala Aboubakr, Mayada Aly Mahmoud, Francesca Melozzi, Maeva Ferraris, Marie Demolliens, Faical Isbane, Galyna Malieieva, Silvan Siep. Total : 7 HDRs.

Research axes 

  1. Cell/network dynamics and learning in physiological and pathological conditions (in epileptic patients, monkeys and rodents) ;
  2. Mechanisms leading to the construction of an epileptic brain (in epileptic patients, monkeys and rodents) ;
  3. Anatomo-functional organization of normal and epileptic networks (in epileptic patients, monkeys and rodents) ;
  4. Coupling between metabolism, chloride homeostasis and cell/network function (in rodents)


  • Cell culture
  • Immunostaining, histology, flow cytometry
  • Microscopy (fluorescence, confocal, electronic…)
  • Calcium imaging
  • Electrophysiology (slices or cell culture)
  • Electrophysiology (in vivo, on animals)
  • Animal surgery, stereotaxy
  • Pharmacology
  • Animal behavior


Epilepsy, cortex, networks, learning, metabolism, homeostasis, chloride, gene, behavior, oscillations, GABA

Animal cognition and behavior - Computational neuroscience - Disorders of the nervous system - Excitability, synaptic transmission, network functions - Novel methods and technology development

Dynamical brain mapping (DynaMap) (Christian-G. Benar)

The principal objective of the Dynamical Brain Mapping (Dynamap) group is to design and optimize signal processing methods for multimodal functional investigation of human cerebral activity (pathological and physiological).


Christian-G. Benar, Bernard Giusiano, Jean-Michel Badier, Anne-Sophie Dubarry, Nicolas Roehri, Jonathan Wirsich. Total : 1 HDR.

Research axes

  1. 1. Fusion of recordings from multimodal non-invasive techniques
  2. 2. Confrontation of non-invasive results with depth electroencephalography (SEEG)


  • Electroencephalography
  • Magnetoencephalography


Electroencephalography, magnetoencephalography, brain mapping, signal processing

Disorders of the nervous system - Human cognition and behavior - Novel methods and technology development
Share the article on :