Relève étoile Jacques-Genest 
October 2018

Simon Chamberland

Postdoctoral fellow in neuroscience
New York University

Award-winning publicationAction potential counting at giant mossy fiber terminals gates information transfer in the hippocampus

Published in: PNAS


Simon Chamberland's research establishes the existence of a new information coding process in the central nervous system. At the synapses between the granule cells and main cells in the CA3 region of the hippocampus, information transfers are independent of the frequency of action potentials and solely determined by their number. Indeed, six action potentials must be discharged in order to transfer information. The combination of particularly slow calcium dynamics and the amplification of neurotransmitter release in the synapse enables the process. The findings describe how the synapse acts as a meter to support the transmission of nerve impulses and shed light on a specific neural dialogue. In the longer term, the results could broaden our understanding of neurodegenerative diseases.