Connecting European Neuroscience

Jean-Antoine Girault

PRESIDENT (2020-2022)

Jean-Antoine Girault MD, PhD (France) is the FENS President for 2020-2022.
Inserm Research Director, Head of the Institut du Fer à Moulin (Inserm and Sorbonne University) in Paris until September 2020, his research focuses on the signalling mechanisms involved in the plasticity of the nervous system, in normal and pathological conditions. 
Former President of the French Neuroscience Society, Jean-Antoine Girault has also actively contributed to the coordination of Neuroscience research and training in Paris region.



Since 2012 Director, Laboratory of Excellence “Biology for Psychiatry” (Bio-Psy Labex), Paris

2007 to 2020 Director, Institut du Fer à Moulin, UMR-S839, INSERM, Sorbonne University (formerly Pierre and Marie Curie University, UPMC), Paris

Since 2007 Group leader ‘Neurotransmission and signaling”

2007-10 Director, Paris School of Neuroscience (ENP)

2000-06 Head of INSERM U536 “Signal transduction and plasticity in the nervous system”, Paris

1990-99 Group leader at INSERM U114 “Neuropharmacology” (Pr. J. Glowinski), Collège de France, Paris 1985-89 Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience (Pr. P. Greengard), The Rockefeller University, New York 1978-85 Medical resident and PhD student

1980 Physician in charge of the Medicine ward, Libreville Hospital, Gabon

1972-77 Undergraduate student Medicine, Biochemistry


1987-present Inserm Scientist : 1987 Staff scientist (CR1), 1992 Research Director, 2nd class (DR2), 2000 Research Director, 1st class (DR1), 2009, Research Director, “exceptional class” (DRCE)

1987-89 Assistant Professor, the Rockefeller University, New York

1985-87 Post-Doctoral fellow, the Rockefeller University, New York

1978-85 Medicine Resident, Paris Hospitals (APHP)

1980 Military duties, civil service


1992 Habilitation to direct research

1986 PhD, Molecular Pharmacology, Paris 6 University

1985 French National certification in Neurology

1984 MD, Paris 6 University

1978 Master Biochemistry and Master Physiology.


2016, Brixham Foundation Prize (Foundation for Medical Research)

2013, Lamonica Prize for Neurology (French National Academy of Sciences grand prize)

2010, ERC Advanced research grant

2002, Coup d’élan Award, Bettencourt-Schuller Foundation 2000, Schlumberger Foundation Prize (FSER)

1997, Antoine Lacassagne Prize (Collège de France) 1990, Foundation for Medical Research Neurobiology Prize 1990, Stanley Award, National Alliance for the Mentally Ill 1989, France Parkinson Association Prize

1985, Fyssen Foundation fellowship.


Director: Inserm U536 (2000-6), Paris School of Neuroscience (2007-10), Institut du Fer à Moulin (since 2007), Excellence laboratory Biology for Psychiatry (2012-22)

President: French Neuroscience Society (2015-7)

Chair: Paris medical committee (2008-13), Montpellier Neurosci. Inst. SAB (2005-09), Ile-de-France Region Scientific council (chair 2011-5), Brain Research Foundation (FRC, chair 2018-20)

Member of scientific committees: HFSP (1996-2000), INSERM Neuroscience (1999-2002), French MS Association (ARSEP, 2003-10), ERC Starting Grants (2011-7), ATIP-Avenir Neuroscience (2013-5)

Member of scientific boards: Curie Inst. Research Section (2002-04), INSERM Director neuroscience advisor (2003-7), Ecole Normale Supérieure (2005-7), ENS Biology institute (IBENS, 2007-present), 3C doctoral school (2007-16), UPMC Biology Faculty (2000-present), UPMC Research (2012-4), Sorbonne Universités Research (2015-17), ERA-NET Neuron (2016-9), CORTEX Labex Lyons (2017-8). Meetings organizer: 7.



- 2000-6 Founder and director of INSERM Unit 536, “Signal transduction in the nervous system”, Paris (included 3 research groups and about 25 people).

- 2003-7 Member of the advisory board to the INSERM director (CORES), in charge of Neuroscience.

- Since 2007 co-founder and director of the Institut du Fer à Moulin, Paris. This institute comprises 7-10 teams and 90-100 people.

- 2007-10 Founder and director of the Paris School of Neuroscience. This network of initially 60 neuroscience labs was one of the 13 initiatives in all areas of science created following a national competitive call (total budget Euros 20 M).

- 2012-22 Co-founder and director of the “Excellence laboratory” Biology for Psychiatry (Bio-Psy Labex), a network of 27 labs in 5 institutes associated with a nationwide network of clinical expert centers.

- French Neuroscience Society: treasurer (2003-5), president-elect (2013-5), president (2015-7).


JA Girault studied dopamine actions on neurotransmitter release (PhD with Jacques Glowinski) and on phosphoproteins with Paul Greengard and then in his own lab. He showed the role of protein tyrosine phosphorylation in neurotransmitters action and identified neuronal proteins mediating axoglial contacts at nodes of Ranvier. JA Girault's current research focuses on intracellular signaling pathways in long term neuronal plasticity. He is interested in the basal ganglia and the striatum, a brain region controlling movement, procedural learning and motivation. He also studies the alterations of signaling mechanisms in psychiatric and neurological conditions including addiction and movement disorders. The methodological approaches in his laboratory include generation and use of transgenic mouse models and study of their behavior and molecular and cellular responses, including genome-wide transcriptional and epigenetic alterations and real-time biosensor imaging.


1. Giralt A, Brito V, Chevy Q, Simonnet C, Otsu Y, Cifuentes-Díaz C, de Pins B, Coura R, Alberch J, Ginés S, Poncer JC, Girault JA. Pyk2 modulates hippocampal excitatory synapses and contributes to cognitive deficits in a Huntington’s disease model. Nat Commun, 2017, 8:15592

2. Engmann O, Giralt A*, Gervasi N*, Marion-Poll L, Gasmi L, Filhol O, Picciotto MR, Gilligan D, Greengard P, Nairn AC, Hervé D, Girault JA. DARPP-32 interaction with adducin may mediate rapid environmental effects on striatal neurons. Nat Commun, 2015, Dec 7; 6:10099. doi: 10.1038/ncomms10099.
3. Li L*, Gervasi N*, Girault JA. Dendritic geometry shapes neuronal cAMP signaling to the nucleus. Nat Commun, 2015, 6:6319.

4. Jordi E, Heiman M, Marion-Poll L, Guermonprez P, Cheng SK, Nairn AC, Greengard P, Girault JA. Differential effects of cocaine on histone post-translational modifications in identified populations of striatal neurons. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2013, 110:9511-6.
5. Stipanovich A*, Valjent E*, Matamales M*, Nishi A, Ahn JH, Maroteaux M, Bertran-Gonzalez J, Brami-Cherrier K, Enslen H, Corbillé AG, Filhol O, Nairn AC, Greengard P, Hervé D, Girault JA. A phosphatase cascade by which rewarding stimuli control nucleosomal response. Nature, 2008, 453:879-84.

6. Bertran-Gonzalez J, Bosch C, Maroteaux M, Matamales M, Hervé D, Valjent E, Girault JA. Opposing patterns of signaling activation in dopamine D1 and D2 receptor-expressing striatal neurons in response to cocaine and haloperidol. J Neurosci, 2008, 28 5671-85
7. Valjent E, Pascoli V, Svenningsson P, Paul S, Enslen H, Corvol JC, Stipanovich A, Caboche J, Lombroso P, Nairn AC, Greengard P, Hervé D, Girault JA. Regulation of a protein phosphatase cascade allows convergent dopamine and glutamate signals to activate ERK in the striatum. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 2005, 102:491-6.

8. Derkinderen P, Toutant M, Burgaya F, Le Bert M, Siciliano JC, de Franciscis V, Gelman M, Girault JA. Regulation of a neuronal form of focal adhesion kinase by anandamide. Science, 1996, 273:1719-1722.
9. Menegoz M, Gaspar P, LeBert M, Galvez T, Burgaya F, Palfrey C, Ezan P, Arnos F, Girault JA. Paranodin, a glycoprotein of neuronal paranodal membranes. Neuron, 1997, 19:319-331.

10. Halpain S, Girault JA, Greengard P. NMDA receptor activation induces dephosphorylation of DARPP-32 in rat striatal slices. Nature, 1990, 343: 369-372.


Jean-Antoine Girault

INSERM Research Director
Director of the Institut du Fer à Moulin UMR-S839 INSERM Sorbonne Université Institut du Fer à Moulin
17 rue du Fer à Moulin
75005 Paris France.