Centre for Integrative Physiology

Dr Nathalie Rochefort

Our research topic is to understand how brain neuronal networks represent the outside world and how experience durably modifies the activity of such networks.

Nathalie Rochefort

Sir Henry Dale Fellow, Chancellor's Fellow

  • Hugh Robson Building
  • room 177
  • 15 George Square

Contact details



Edinburgh EH8 9XD

Personal Profile

  • 2014-present: Sir Henry Dale fellow, funded by the Wellcome Trust and the Royal Society
  • 2013-present: Chancellor’s fellow, University of Edinburgh, UK.
  • 2007-2012: Post-doctoral research fellow, Institute of Neuroscience, Technical University Munich, Germany
  • 2002-2007: Ph.D., Laboratory of Neurophysiology, Ruhr-Universität, Bochum, Germany and Laboratory of Physiologie de la Perception et de l’Action, CNRS/Collège-de-France, Paris, France
  • 2002: Master in Neuroscience, University Paris VI
  • 2000: Master in Epistemology, University Paris VII
  • 2000: BS Biology-Biochemistry, University Paris VI, Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris


Brain functions such as sensations and thoughts depend on the coordinated activity of neuronal networks in precise spatial and temporal sequences. The aim of my research group is to reveal the mechanisms underlying such coordinated cortical activity. We are using the first cortical area reached by visual inputs, the primary visual cortex, as a model system of cortical integration.

By using two-photon calcium imaging combined with electrophysiological recordings in awake behaving mice, our current projects investigate:

- how behavioral context modulates neuronal activity in the primary visual cortex

- which mechanisms underlie the action of neuromodulators in cortical networks

- how visual experience durably modifies the activity of cortical neuronal networks.

Using such information, we apply the same combination of methods to study how this network activity is disrupted in the brain of mouse models for autistic spectrum disorders and intellectual disabilities.

Funding and awards

  • 2014-2019: Sir Henry Dale fellowship from the Wellcome Trust and the Royal Society
  • 2014-2018: Marie Curie Career Integration Grant, European funding
  • 2014: Marie Curie Intra-European fellowship for Career Development for the post-doctoral fellow, Dr Janelle Pakan
  • 2013: Schilling Research Award of the German Neuroscience Society 2013
  • 2011: Bernard Katz Lecture Award, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation
  • 2005-2006: Research grant from the French national association for the blind and visually-disabled people (FAF)

Team members

  • Janelle Pakan (Postdoctoral fellow)
  • Evelyn Dylda (PhD student)
  • Stephen Currie (Postdoctoral fellow)
  • Valerio Francioni (PhD student)
  • Tristan Altwegg-Boussac (Postdoctoral fellow)
  • Zahid Padamsey (Postdoctoral fellow)

Lab alumni

  • Christopher Coutts (Postdoctoral fellow)
  • Lukas Fisher (Postdoctoral fellow)


  • Peter Kind and the Patrick Wild Centre (University of Edinburgh)
  • Ian Duguid (University of Edinburgh)
  • Matt Nolan (University of Edinburgh)
  • Mark Van Rossum (School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh)
  • Sophie Deneve (ENS Paris, France)



* Equal contribution

Pakan JM, Lowe SC, Dylda E, Keemink SW, Currie SP, Coutts CA, Rochefort NL. Behavioral-state modulation of inhibition is context-dependent and cell type specific in mouse visual cortex. Elife. 2016 Aug 23;5. pii: e14985. doi: 10.7554/eLife.14985.

Chen X, Rochefort NL, Sakmann B, Konnerth A. Reactivation of the Same Synapses during Spontaneous Up States and Sensory Stimuli. Cell Report; 4(1):31-9, 2013.

Chen X., Leischner U., Varga Z., Jia H., Deca D., Rochefort N.L., Konnerth A., LOTOS-based two-photon calcium imaging of dendritic spines in vivo, Nature Protocol, 7(10):1818-29, 2012.

Grienberger C. *, Rochefort N.L. *, Adelsberger H., Henning H.A., Hill D.N., Reichwald J., Staufenbiel M. and Konnerth A., Staged decline of neuronal function in vivo in an animal model of Alzheimer’s Disease, Nature Communication, 3:774, 2012.

Rochefort N.L.*, Narushima M.*, Grienberger C., Marandi N., Hill D.N. and Konnerth A., Development of direction-selectivity in mouse cortical neurons, Neuron, 71(3):425-32, 2011.

Chen X.*, Leischner U.*, Rochefort N.L., Nelken I. and Konnerth A., Functional mapping of single spines in cortical neurons in vivo, Nature, 475(7357):501-5, 2011.

Jia H.*, Rochefort N.L.*, Chen X. and Konnerth A., Dendritic organization of sensory input to cortical neurons in vivo, Nature Protocol, 6(1):28-35, 2011.

Jia H.*, Rochefort N.L.*, Chen X. and Konnerth A., Dendritic organization of sensory input to cortical neurons in vivo, Nature, 464(7293):1307-12, 2010.

Rochefort N.L.*, Garaschuk O.*, Milos R.I.*, Narushima M., Marandi N., Pichler B., Kovalchuk Y., Konnerth A., ‘Sparsification’ of neuronal activity in the visual cortex at eye-opening, Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 106(35):15049-54, 2009.

Rochefort N.L., Buzás P., Koza A., Quenech’du N., Eysel U.T., Milleret C., Kisvárday Z.F., Functional specificity of interhemispheric connections in the cat visual cortex, Cerebral Cortex, 19(10), p.2451-65, 2009.

Rochefort N.L., Buzás P., Kisvárday Z.F., Eysel U.T., Milleret C., Layout of transcallosal activity in cat visual cortex revealed by optical imaging. Neuroimage, vol. 36(3), p.804-821, 2007.

Rochefort N., Quenech’du N., Giaume C., Milleret C., “Postnatal development of GFAP, Connexin43 and Connexin30 in cat visual cortex.” Developmental Brain Research, vol. 160, p.252-264, 2005.

Rochefort N., Quenech’du N., Watroba L., Mallat M., Giaume C., Milleret C., “Microglia and astrocytes may participate in the shaping of visual callosal projections during postnatal development.” J. Physiol. Paris, vol. 96, p.183-192, 2002.


Rochefort N.L., Konnerth A., Dendritic spines: from structure to in vivo function, EMBO Report, 2012.

Rochefort N.L., Organisation dendritique et caractéristiques fonctionnelles des afférences visuelles sur les neurones corticaux, Med Sci (Paris), 26(12):1009-12, 2010.

Rochefort N.L., Jia H., Konnerth A., Calcium imaging in the living brain: prospects for molecular medicine, Trends in Molecular Medicine, vol. 14(9), p.389-99, 2008.

Rochefort N.L. and Konnerth A., Genetically-encoded Ca2+ sensors come of age, News and Views in Nature Methods, vol. 5(9), p.761-2, 2008.

Book chapter

Rochefort N.L., Grienberger C. and Konnerth A., In vivo two-photon calcium imaging using multicell bolus loading of fluorescent indicators, Imaging in Neuroscience: A Laboratory Manual, R. Yuste, F. Helmchen and A. Konnerth, editors, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, NY, chapter 9, 2010.