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Gabrielle Girardeau

Institut du Fer à Moulin, U1270 Inserm Sorbonne Université, Paris, France
Website : https://girardeaulab.org/
Twitter : @DrGabyGab


Neural mechanisms for memory and emotional processing during sleep


The hippocampus and the amygdala are two structures required for emotional memory. While the hippocampus encodes the contextual part of the memory, the amygdala processes its emotional valence. During Non-REM sleep, the hippocampus displays high frequency oscillations called “ripples”. Our early work shows that the suppression of ripples during sleep impairs performance on a spatial task, underlying their crucial role in memory consolidation. We more recently showed that the joint amygdala-hippocampus activity linked to aversive learning is reinstated during the following Non-REM sleep epochs, specifically during ripples. This mechanism potentially sustains the consolidation of aversive associative memories during Non REM sleep. On the other hand, REM sleep is associated with regular 8 Hz theta oscillations, and is believed to play a role in the regulation of emotional reactivity and the consolidation of emotional memories. In particular, the activity of the amygdala during REM sleep is important for emotional regulation, but the underlying physiology is relatively unknown. Unraveling the fine neuronal dynamics related to REM sleep, Non-REM sleep and the transitions between states in the amygdala will further our understanding of the implication of these sleep stages and related brain patterns in emotional processing.


Dr. Gabrielle Girardeau leads the "Sleep and Emotional Memory" team at the Institut Fer-à-Moulin in Paris, France. She obtained her PhD at the Collège de France/Université Pierre et Marie Curie (now Sorbonne University) in Paris, where she contributed to the identification of a key hippocampus-dependent mechanism of memory consolidation during slow wave sleep. She did her post-doctoral work in Dr. Buzsaki's lab at NYU Langone Medical Center at New york University (New York City, USA), where she studied hippocampus-amygdala coordination in the context of aversive memory consolidation. In 2018, she was recruited as a full researcher at Inserm (Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale), and in 2019, she created her research team in Paris at the Institut Fer à Moulin. The team uses large-scale electrophysiological recordings and optogenetics in freely behaving rodents to understand the neurophysiological processes involved in normal and pathological emotional processing during sleep.