Denis Jabaudon obtained his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from the Universities of Lausanne and Zurich in Switzerland, where he studied mechanisms controlling synaptic transmission. After a neurology residency at Geneva University Hospital, he completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University, in the laboratory of Prof. J. Macklis, where he began his investigation of genetic control of cortical development. He is currently a professor at the University of Geneva, Switzerland, since 2009, where he has his independent research group and also practices as a clinical neurologist at Geneva University Hospital. His work on the mechanisms of neuronal circuit assembly during cortical development has recently earned him several prestigious prizes, including the Freedman Prize for Exceptional Basic Research from the Brain and Behavior Foundation (NARSAD) and the Bing Prize from the Swiss Academy of Medical Science.
My research interest is in understanding how genetic and input-dependent mechanisms interact to control neocortical circuit assembly during development. Specifically, work in my laboratory is aimed at characterizing the gene expression programs that enable specific subtypes of forebrain neurons to assemble into distinct functional circuits, and understanding how sensory experience regulates these differentiation programs to establish circuit hierarchies during development.
The approaches we use to address these questions include the isolation and genetic characterization of functionally-defined forebrain neurons subtypes, in vivo genetic gain-and-loss of function approaches, and optogenetic interrogation of developing circuits.
We believe that the systematic characterization of neuron-type specific gene-circuit interactions during development is important, because it can help us understand how adverse environmental conditions and abnormal gene expression can lead to circuit miswiring and behavioral changes in neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders.