Brain Dynamics Institute

Director : Viktor Jirsa

Faculté Médecine Timone
27 Bd Jean-Moulin
13005 Marseille


INS was created in the spirit of studying the dynamic brain, with the perspective of the brain as a network and dynamically evolving spatiotemporal pattern forming system, capable of executing cognitive functions, as well as showing highly dynamic dysfunctions such as epilepsy. As such INS, attracted expertise from computational, cognitive and clinical neuroscience, as well as biomedical imaging and signal analysis.

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.

  • Team 1 : Theoretical Neuroscience (TNG) (Viktor Jirsa)
  • Team 2 : Physiology and physiopathology of brain networks (PhysioNet) (Christophe Bernard)
  • Team 3 : Dynamics of cognitive processes (DCP) (Daniele Schön)
  • Team 4 : Dynamical brain mapping (DynaMap) (Christian-G. Benar)

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, Gaetan GENTILE, Roland RIZOULIERE, Marmaduke WOODMAN, Maya ALLOUCHE, Anastasia EGHIAIAN-LOMAN, Elisabeth JOUVE, Huifang WANG, Irene YUJNOVSKY, Mohammad ARBABYAZD, Anirudh VATTIKONDA, Julie COURTIOL, Lionel KUSCH, Adam LI, Perdikis DIONYSIOS, Spase PETKOSKI, Marisa SAGGIO, Francesca MELOZZI. Sora AN, Kenza, EL HOUSSAINI, Florence GAILLARD-BIGOT, Meysam HASHEMI, Hiba SHEHEITLI, Viktor SIP, Olivier BLIN, Sylvie BONIN – GUILLAUME, Joelle MICALLEF, Catherine CASSE-PERROT, FRAUGER Elisabeth, Romain GUILHAUMOU, Farid KHELOUFI, Xavier ZENDJIDJIAN. Total : 6 HDRs.

Research axes

  • Spatiotemporal large-scale brain dynamics
  • Mathematical and computational models of brain networks
  • Virtual Brain technologies
  • Data analysis methods of brain activity
  • Resting-state activity
  • Emergence of brain functions
  • Personalized Medicine
  • Brain disease (epilepsy, neurodegenerative diseases)


  • Pharmacology
  • Medical data analysis
  •  Bioinformatics
  • Numerical simulations


Brain networks, Nonlinear dynamics, Complex systems, 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 main objective is to uncover the spatiotemporal dynamics underlying cognitive processes. These dynamics are studied using different brain imaging approaches (sEEG, MEG, EEG, TMS, fMRI) combined with sophisticated cognitive and psychophysical paradigms. Of great interest are the changes in the connectivity of the large-scale network when cognitively interacting with different types of contexts. These changes can be slow (such as in learning) or fast (such in predicting) and their emergence can be linked to different types of behavioural dysfunctions that we study in epilepsy, degenerative diseases and hearing impairment. All of our work in DCP can be understood within this framework and comprises behavioural and imaging studies in normal subjects and patients with brain dysfunction including children (dyslexia and hearing impairment), the development of cognitive models for understanding speech processing, anticipatory behaviour and memory decline, and applications to speech rehabilitation, mostly via music rhythmic training concrete.


Daniele Schön, CECCALDI Mathieu, CHAUVEL Patrick, FELICIAN Olivier, REY Marc, TREBUCHON Agnes, TRIGLIA Jean Michel, BONNARD Mireille, BOUSSAOUD Driss, LIEGEOIS CHAUVEL Catherine, MORILLON Benjamin, BONINI Francesca, DIDIC Mira, GOUR Natalina, NEGRE Eve, ROMAN Stéphane, MARQUIS Patrick, FASOLA Alexia, GIROUD Jeremy, HIDALGO Céline, LOMBARDO Diego Martin, PESNOT Jacques, RODO Christophe, PELOFI Claire. Total : 11 HDRs.

Research axes

  • Predictive coding,
  • Auditory processing,
  • Language and music processing,
  • Memory,
  • Ageing,
  • Degenerative diseases,
  • Hearing impairment,
  • Epilepsy


  • Molecular biology
  •  Biochemistry
  •  Cell culture
  •  Immunostaining, histology, flow cytometry
  •  Microscopy
  • Pharmacology


Predictive coding, auditory processing, language and music processing, memory, ageing, degenerative diseases, hearing impairment, epilepsy.

Disorders of the nervous system - Human cognition and behavior - Motor systems - Sensory systems

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

Cognitive processes depend upon the activity of distributed networks in the brain. Our main goal is to further our understanding of the basic rules of brain dynamics in given behavioural states in physiological conditions, and how these rules are modified in epilepsy. We use a multilevel approach. The Virtual Mouse Brain allows us to virtualize individual mouse brains and study whole brain dynamics. We use multisite in vivo recordings and optogenetics to assess how specific neurons code information during cognitive tasks and how they control the dynamics of large networks, in control and epileptic animals. One level down, we study the relationships between energy metabolism and neuronal activity (in epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease).

All projects have a clinical finality: we are trying to identify predictive biomarkers of incoming seizures as well as biomarkers of vulnerability to depression and cognitive deficits in epilepsy. We are developing curative approaches for seizures and co-morbidities.

Finally, one part of our activity is devoted to design new in vivo recording devices. We are experimenting multimodal organic probes, to record electro-molecular activity and deliver therapeutic substances for diverse neurological disorders, including epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease.


Christophe Bernard, BREGESTOVSKI Piotr, ESCLAPEZ Monique, ZYLBERTER Yuri, WILLIAMSON Adam, GESTREAU Christian, GHESTEM Antoine, IVANOV Anton, SCAPULA Jennyfer, BERGE-LAVAL Victor, CHAN Carol, CLAWSON Wesley, ELSEEDY Heba, FERRARIS Maeva, MELOZZI Francesca, POULKOURAS Romanos, RUSINA Evgenilia, SAFIEDDINE Sawssan, BACA Martin, FERNANDEZ Ana Maria, KERGOAT Loig, MALIEIEVA Galyna, QUILICHINI Pascale, SLEZIA Andréa. Total : 5 HDRs.

Research axes 

  • Cell/network dynamics and learning in physiological and pathological conditions in rodents
  • Mechanisms leading to the construction of an epileptic brain
  • Anatomo-functional organization of normal and epileptic networks
  • Coupling between metabolism, chloride homeostasis and cell/network function
  • Neuroengineering: Development of organic electronic tools to measure and control neuronal activity


  •  Molecular biology
  •  Biochemistry
  •  Cell culture
  •  Immunostaining, histology, flow cytometry
  •  Microscopy
  •  Calcium imaging
  •  Electrophysiology (on slices or cells)
  •  Electrophysiology (in vivo, on animals)
  •  Animal surgery, stereotaxy
  •  Pharmacology
  •  Animal behavior
  • Brain imaging – Animal
  •  Optogenetics
  •  Electroencephalography (EEG)
  • Modelling Organic Electronics


Network dynamics, anatomo-functional organization, animal cognition and behavior, development, excitability, neuroengineering.

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

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

The general objective of the Dynamap team is to develop signal processing strategies for characterizing the spatio-temporal dynamics of brain networks, for both physiological and pathological activity.

With this in view, the first strategy of the team is to combine the strength of different modalities such as EEG, MEG, fMRI, with particular emphasis on simultaneous recordings (EEG-MEG, EEG-fMRI) that allow recording the exact same activity under different points of view. The second strategy is to take the opportunity of intracerebral recordings performed in patients with epilepsy for providing a ‘ground truth’ to which non-invasive methods can be confronted.In basic neuroscience, one application of our work is to provide methodological advances for the users of the MEG platform. In clinics, our tools are intended to improve delineation of the epileptogenic zone for presurgical planning of patients with epilepsy. A particular effort is made towards translation of our work to clinicians and researchers through the multi-platform Anywave software, which architecture specifically aims at allowing fast implementation of algorithms to the end users.


Christian-G. Benar, Fabrice Bartolomei, Romain Carron, Bernard Giusiano, Jean Regis, Aileen McGonigal, Jean-Michel Badier, Sophie Chen, Bruno Colombet, Aurélie Ponz, Samuel Medina-Villalon, Stanislas Lagarde, Isabelle Lambert, Francesca Pizzo, Nicolas Roehri. Total : 5 HDRs.

Research axes

  • Brain Mapping
  • Network dynamics
  • Signal processing
  • Simultaneous recordings (MEG/SEEG)


  • Brain imaging and stimulation – Man (fMRI, TMS…)
  • Electroencephalography (EEG)
  •  Medical data analysis


Brain mapping, network dynamics, signal processing, electrophysiology, simultaneous recordings (MEG/SEEG).

Novel methods and technology development
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