Antoine Triller has dedicated his career to synapses – structures that enable neurons to exchange information. Although they are involved in processes that are thought of as stable, such as learning or memory, he has shown that the molecules that make up these synapses are very mobile.
Antoine Triller manages the Institute of Biology of the Ecole Normale Supérieure (ENS-IBENS, Paris)*, which he founded in 2010. He is pursuing work on the molecular basis of neuronal communication and its dysfunction begun in the early 1980s. He has shown that the deregulation of these fundamental mechanisms can lead to various diseases: certain kinds of epilepsy, neurodegenerative diseases (Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, etc.) and even psychiatric disorders.
It was in 1985 that he first successfully visualized a neurotransmitter receptor in a synapse within the central nervous system. He later found that these receptors are not static; they can spread across the neuron’s membrane. This discovery was rewarded by the first Inserm Prize in 2004.
Antoine Triller created LabEx MemoLife with Alain Prochiantz (2011 Inserm Grand Prize). This laboratory of excellence brings together around fifty teams that together seek to understand the fundamental mechanisms of memory, a process that is associated with a certain stability, yet based on mobile molecular structures.
*Inserm unit 1024/CNRS, Ecole Normale Supérieure