Étudiant-chercheur étoile November 2015

Philippe Morquette

PhD student in Neuroscience
Université de Montréal

Award winning publication: An astrocyte-dependent mechanism for neuronal rhythmogenesis

Published in: Nature Neuroscience


Philippe Morquette and his team focused their research on glial cells (or glia), which are often overlooked. Glial cells make up the neuronal environment: they protect the neurons they surround and maintain homeostasis. The results reveal that glia can reduce the concentration of extracellular calcium by secreting S100B protein. In doing so, glial cells actively change the discharge of neighbouring neurons from tonic to rhythmic. In neuroscience, the research contributes to the advancement of knowledge by confirming the role of glia in neural encoding and also by describing an entirely new neuron-glia interaction mechanism on the S100B glial protein. These findings could, in the long term, potentially lead to new therapeutic targets since rhythmic neuronal discharges similar to those identified in the study are found in several pathologies, including Parkinson's disease and post-stroke epilepsy.