Karim Benchenane

Full permanent CNRS Researcher (CR1)
Currently: Leader of ATIP/Avenir team Memory Oscillations and Brain states at ESPCI ParisTech
Research focus: Brain states, oscillation and memory processes
AERES evaluation for the project : A+

in Laboratory of Neurobiology – UMR 7637 CNRS ESPCI

2009-2011: Team Navigation, Memory and Aging, in the Laboratory of Neurobiology of Adaptative Processes, University Pierre and Marie Curie, UMR 7102, Paris, France.
Research focus: Brain states, oscillation and memory processes
2006-2009: Post-doctoral scholar at the LPPA Collège de France, CNRS UMR 7152, Paris, France.
PI: Sidney Wiener.
Research focus: Role of sleep in memory consolidation and interaction between hippocampus and prefrontal cortex.

2005:Post-doctoral scholar at the CMBN, Rutgers University, Newark, USA. PI: Esther Nimchinsky
Research focus: Study of the role of astrocytes in neuronal plasticity with two-photon microscopy.

Graduate Studies

2004: PhD in Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience in UMR 6551, University de Caen – CNRS, Caen, France.
Award date Dec, 21th 2004. PhD advisors Pr Denis Vivien and Dr Omar Touzani.
Research focus: Interaction between the tissue-type plasminogen activator and the NMDA receptor: involvement in ischemic neuronal death and in learning and memory.

To read my thesis

Undergraduate Studies

• Bachelor, Master in Biology (2000)
• Bachelor in Psychology (2000)
• Preparatory classes for competitive exams to enter french ‘Grandes Ecoles’ (Mathematics & Physics)

Supervision of students

  • Gaetan de Lavilléon (PhD student; co-direction with Laure Rondi-Reig);
  • Marie Lacroix (PhD student, co-direction with André Klarsfeld);
  • Sophie Bagur (Master, ENS Ulm, 2013)
  • Lisa Roux (PhD; principal advisor: Christian Giaume, 2010-2011);
  • Noelia Do Carmo Blanco (Master 2nd year, 2013);
  • Matthieu Komora (Master 1st year, 2013);
  • Parvaneh Adibpour (Master 1st year, 2012);
  • Mathieu Tihy (Master 1st year, 2011);
  • Raphaelle Kulis (Engineer ESPCI 1st year, 2012);
  • Baptiste Guédon (Engineer Ecole Centrale Paris 3rd year, 2012);
  • Karim El Kanbi (Engineer Ecole Centrale Paris 3rd year, 2012);
  • Joachim Zentic (Engineer Ecole Centrale Paris 3rd year, 2012).


  • 2016: ERC Consolidator Grant
  • 2013: Equipe ATIP/Avenir (280 000 € , PI Karim Benchenane)
  • 2013: Programme Emergence de la ville de Paris (300 000 €, PI Karim Benchenane)
  • 2013: Funding ITMO Grant (co-PI with Pr Marion Leboyer). Title: Sleep, Inflammation and bipolar disorders (7500 €)
  • 2013: Funding ANR Grant (Title: AstroSleep, 74809 €, PI: Christian Giaume)
  • 2013: Funding by the ESPCI (team installation) (75000 €)
  • 2010: Funding Neuroscience and Computational Neuroinformatic, Neuro-IC (35 000 €).
  • Principal investigator of the Project entitled: « MMN-P3B: A cortical column model to account for the mismatch negativity in the auditory pathway » (in collaboration with Dr. Stanislas Dehaene and Dr. Alain Destexhe).
  • PhD fellowship from the French ministry of Research

Awards and prizes

• Award  “Prix la Recherche” (2011):
Best article in Neuroscience for 2010 delivered by the journal La Recherche, for the study Benchenane K, Peyrache A, Khamassi M, Tierney PL, Gioanni Y, Battaglia FP, Wiener SI. (2010) Coherent theta oscillations and reorganization of spike timing in the hippocampal-prefrontal network upon learning. Neuron, June 24;66(6):921-36.

• Award AXA–French Academy of Science (2010):
“Major advances in biological studies in France presented by the authors” for the article: Girardeau G*,Benchenane K*, Wiener SI, Buzsáki G, Zugaro MB. (2010) « Selective suppression of hippocampal ripples perturbes learning in a spatial reference memory task ». Nat. Neurosci, Oct;12(10):1222-23. (*equal contribution)

Teaching activities

  • Responsible of a module in the specialty « Ingénierie Biomédicale et Innovation en Neurosciences (IBIN) of the Master BME, University Paris Descartes – Paris Tech (2012-2013)
  • Lecturer in 1st and 2nd year of Master in  University Pierre and Marie Curie (2010 -2012)
  • Lecturer in 2nd year of Master in University Paris-Sud (2012).
  • Lecturer in Engineer school ESPCI-Paris Tech, Paris, France. (2012)
  • Lecturer in 2nd year of Master CogMaster (University Paris Descartes, ENS, EHESS), Paris (2012)
  • Participation to the organization of the 5th national forum of cognitive science (2006)

Valorization and patent

During my PhD, I have shown that a protocol of vaccination that leads to the generation of antibodies that prevent the cleavage of the NMDA receptor by the tissue-type plasminogen activator prevent the deleterious effect of tPA in the brain parenchyma while leaving its beneficial proteolytic action in the blood unaffected(Benchenane et al., J Cell Sci 2007).
This strategy is currently in pre-clinical test, and a patent has been done in collaboration with a pharmaceutical company (Paion) in order to perform a clinical trial with the co-administration of tPA and the antibody.
Patent EP2289542; EUROPEAN PATENT APPLICATION, EP 2 289 542 A1, Treatment of neurological or neurodegenerative disorders. Application number: 09011149.3

Other academic activities

Reviewer for Brain Research, Neuroscience, PLOS One. Circulation, Stroke…

Research Coordination

• Member of the Scientific Council of the French Research Group on Sleep
• Member of the Research Group on Neuroscience of memory (NeuroMem) GDR 2905
• Member of the Research Group on multiple-electrode recording (Multi- electrode Systems and Signal Processing for Neural Networks) GDR 2904

Collaborators (classified by alphabetical order)

Angelo Arleo, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris, France
Thierry Bal, CNRS, Gif sur Yvette, France
Francesco P. Battaglia, Amsterdam University, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Gyorgy Buzsaki, Rutgers University, Newark, USA
Stanislas Dehaene, INSERM, CEA, Collège de France, Paris, France
Alain Destexhe, CNRS, Gif sur Yvette, France
Christian Giaume, INSERM, Collège de France, Paris, France
Yves Gioanni, Collège de France, Paris, France
Benoît Girard, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris, France
Mark Humphreys, Sheffield University, Sheffield, United Kingdom
Adrien Peyrache, Rutgers University, Newark, USA
Emmanuel Procyk, INSERM, Stem cells and Brain Research Institute, Bron, France
Nathalie Rouach, INSERM, Collège de France, Paris, France
Denis Vivien, INSERM Université de Caen, Caen, France

tree-307231_1280Lab websites
Laboratory of Neurobiology, CNRS UMR 7637, at ESPCI ParisTech (Paris, France)

My Neurotree page
My Academia page