L'université Paul Sabatier



Welcome to the Research Center on Animal Cognition

(CNRS - UPS Research Institute n°5169)



Director : Martin GIURFA

Assistant director : Bernard FRANCES


UMR 5169, Bât IVR3, 118 route de Narbonne F-31062 Toulouse cedex 09

Tél.: +33 5 61 55 67 31, Fax: +33 5 61 55 61 54


Reseach programs





Last Informations



The XII International Congress of Neuroethology (ICN)



Congress website


The next ICN will take place in Montevideo, Uruguay, in 2016, from March 30th to April 3rd.


Martin Giurfa, director of the CRCA, will chair the congress together with Jose Luis Pena (Einstein College of Medicine, NY).


The International Society for Neuroethology (ISN) is an academic organization composed of scientists from around the world whose research aims at uncovering the neural mechanisms underlying natural behaviors.





Brand new neurons to treat the aged brain


Can neural stem cells of the adult brain be used to slow down brain aging and to fight against the cognitive problems associated with age and with neurodegenerative diseases?


The work of Kevin Richetin, Stéphane Pech and Claire Rampon at the Research Centre on Animal Cognition show that it is possible to control the integration of new neurons in the brain of Alzheimer's disease mouse models and this allows the animals to recover their memory abilities.

This study published in the journal Brain opens new perspectives for the treatment of cognitive impairment associated with normal and pathological aging.


New neurons (in green) expressing

the proneural gene in the

hippocampus of a mouse model

of Alzheimer disease


Genetic manipulation of adult-born hippocampal neurons rescues memory in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease.
Richetin K, Leclerc C, Toni N, Gallopin T, Pech S, Roybon L, Rampon C. Brain. 2014 Dec 16. pii: awu354.


Read more




France Alzheimer et Maladies Apparentées

Laure Verret has been awarded


Following the 2014 call for proposal of France Alzheimer et Maladies Apparentées, Laure VERRET (Memory Aging and Plasticity team of CRCA) has been awarded a 99,500€ grant for her project "Interneuronal Plasticity in Alzheimer's Disease". The aim of this project is to determine whether experience-dependent plasticity of interneurons is altered in mouse models of Alzheimer's disease, and identify new targets to restore cognitive functions.


France Alzheimer et Maladies Apparentées financially supports research projects for nearly 30 years. To highlight this commitment, but also the work of the researchers, the association has decided to shed the light on 4 of the 14 granted projects in 2015-2016, including Laure Verret's one. Here is the cartoon!


Video on YouTube


Laure Verret




Fyssen Foundation 2015

Early Career Research Grant


Mathieu Lihoreau

Mathieu Lihoreau was awarded an Early Career Research Grant from the Fyssen Foundation 2015.


His project, entitled « Spatial cognition in bees : How tiny brains solve complex navigational problems », will initiate research on the movement rules of pollinators in semi-natural conditions, in collaboration with neurosbiologists, ecologists et bioinformaticians.




French Society for the Study of

Animal Behavior Young Scientist Award 2015


Aurore Avarguès-Weber's young scientific carrier is promoted through the SFECA 2015 Young Scientist award. The prize will be awarded during the annual conference of the society that will be held in Strasbourg from the 21th to the 23th of April, in which Aurore will present her research.

She worked on honey bees visual cognitive skills in the CRCA during her PhD defended in 2010. She then left to London (Queen Mary University - Prof. Lars Chittka team) for a postdoctoral position on information transfer between individuals in bumblebees. She is currently working back in the CRCA to investigate the neurobiological basis of visual learning in honey bees.

Aurore Avarguès-Weber




Bees see the forest for the trees

(Bees see global)


Does the tree hide the forest, or does the forest stand for the trees? Do we first look at a whole scene to focus afterwards on its details, or do we first focus on details and then on the whole scene?

This question has been studied intensively in humans and various animal species, in particular primates, in order to determine how vision captures the images of the world that surrounds us.

Numerous studies revealed a fundamental difference between humans and the animals studied so far: while humans prioritize global vision over details of an image, animals seem to follow the opposite strategy: they focus mostly on details and afterwards on a scene as a whole.



An exception to this distinction has been revealed  by a new study on honeybees. This small insect depends strongly on its sense of vision to navigate efficiently and to detect and recognize the flowers as well as the hive and its surroundings. New results by Aurore Avarguès-Weber & Martin Giurfa from the University of Toulouse (France) published in Proceedings of the Royal Society – Biological Sciences show that when bees are confronted with the choice of focusing on either the details or the integrality of an image, they prefer to rely on the global image, like humans.


Read more





Hot From the Press


Roussel Edith, Carcaud Julie, Combe Maud, Giurfa Martin, Sandoz Jean-christophe

"Olfactory coding in the honeybee lateral horn"

Current Biology, 24, 561-567.


 Remaud Jessica, Ceccom Johnatan, Carponcy Julien, Dugué Laura, Menchon Grégory, Pech Stéphane, Halley Hélène, Francés Bernard, Dahan Lionel

"Anisomycin injection in area CA3 of the hippocampus impairs both short-term and long-term memories of contextual fear"

Learning & Memory, 21(6):311-5.


Jeanson Raphael, Weidenmüller Anja

"Interindividual variability in social insects - proximate causes and ultimate consequences"

Biological Reviews, 89(3):671-87.


Read more


Research Training


Wednesday 3 June


"Tackling Complexity in Biological Systems: From Data to Computational models. Collective motion across biological scales"

Read the program

9h-18h, IBCG room

Tuesday 9 June

CRCA meeting


"ipRGC-like cells in the zebrafish pineal organ mediate directeffects of light and darkness on locomotor activity and sleep"

CBD, Blader's team

12h15 salle du conseil




French version



Neuroscience Network


Staff directory



Research Center on Animal Cognition

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