Philippe VERNIER MD, PhD developmental and evolutionary neuroscience

Course and current status

  • Medical Student (University Grenoble I).
  • Resident at the Regional Hospital of Grenoble (speciality Neurology).



  • Research fellow, Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology, CNRS, Gif-sur-Yvette

  • Research Fellow 1st class (Institute Alfred Fessard, CNRS, Gif-sur-Yvette).
  • Group leader "Biology of Excitable Cells" (Institute Alfred Fessard, CNRS, Gif-sur-Yvette).
  • Director of the CNRS Research Unit 2197 "Development, Evolution, Plasticity of the Nervous System", at the Institute of Neurobiology A. Fessard, CNRS, Gif-sur-Yvette.
  • Director of the CNRS Research Unit 3294 "Neurobiology & Development", and of the Institute of Neurobiology A. Fessard, CNRS, Gif-sur-Yvette.













Scientific summary

  • Trained as Resident in Neurology at the University of Grenoble (France), then as a molecular neurobiologist in the laboratory of Jacques Mallet (CNRS Gif-sur-Yvette, France), Philippe Vernier was hired as a permanent researcher (Chargé de Recherche 1) at the CNRS in 1992. He worked mostly on the molecular mechanisms of post-lesion plasticity in the mammalian central nervous system, more specifically dopamine deafferentation, a phenomenon occurring during Parkinson’s disease in human. In 1993, he moved to the newly created Institute Alfred Fessard (Dir. Jean-Didier Vincent) to lead a group, which soon pioneered evolutionary approaches of neurotransmission, especially dopamine transmission in chordates. In 2002, he founded a new research unit, still inside the Institute of Neurobiology Alfred Fessard, where several group working on the development and evolution of the nervous system gathered to foster research in the field of evo-devo of the nervous system. In 2010, Philippe Vernier created a largest Research Unit (Neurobiology & Development, UPR3294, CNRS) gathering 12 teams in several fields of developmental neurobiology, evolutionary neurobiology, neurogenetics and developmental physiology. His own research are still focused on Comparative biology and evolution of catecholamine systems and forebrain in Chordates, with the aim of better understanding how the different functions of these systems has been recruited along evolution, and how their dysfunctions contribute to several pathologies ( Parkinson’s disease and ADHD). A second line of research focuses on Mechanisms of the development and evolution of the forebrain in vertebrates. The goal is to better understand the role of genes which govern the formation and the organization of the telencephalon, hypothalamus and diencephalon, to understand how these areas have been modified and adapted to functions according the lifestyle of the different groups of vertebrates
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