Our history

Bordering the gardens of the University Palace, close to the botanical garden of the University of Strasbourg, the LNCA occupies a part of the building that also houses the Faculty of Psychology. Like other university buildings located on the so-called historical campus, this one belongs to the “Neustadt” – literally the “new city” – built during the reign of Emperor Wilhelm I (1797-1888). The Prussian army and more than 200,000 shells had forced Strasbourg to surrender in September 1870 after 46 days of resistance. Initially, the building housed the Institute of Chemistry of the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Universität, established from 1872.

Bruno Will (1983), fondateur du laboratoire
The history of LNCA, both rich and complex, dates back more than 40 years. Indeed, under the impetus of Professor Bruno Will and Dr. Christian Kelche, who had just been recruited by the CNRS, the first laboratory was established on October 1, 1982. It was then called LNC: Laboratory of Neurobiology of Behaviors. In addition to its two founders, there was also a research associate, whose tenure was very brief, a technician, two doctoral students, and a postdoctoral fellow. The guiding theme of the research conducted there was the analysis of behavior from a neurobiological perspective: the aim was to understand how the brain determines certain behaviors, and the studies investigated the ability of this organ to recover certain functions impaired after brain damage. The experiments explored the effects of physical and social enrichment of the environment, the administration of neurotrophic factors such as nerve growth factor (NGF), or intracerebral grafts of fetal neurons on the learning abilities of rats with a damaged brain.

The laboratory’s beginnings…

Christian Kelche (1992)
In 1989, LNC became DNBC (Department of Neurophysiology and Behavioral Biology) and, as a department, became part of the CNRS neurochemistry center. The director of DNBC was none other than Professor Bruno Will, who succeeded Professor Pierre Karli.

In 1992, the laboratory became LNBC (Laboratory of Neurobiology of Behaviors) before being renamed LN2C (Laboratory of Behavioral and Cognitive Neurosciences) in 1995. This designation lasted for 12 years. In 2007, LN2C became LINC (Laboratory of Imaging and Cognitive Neurosciences), and Christian Kelche took over as director until the end of 2012.

…to the present day.

On January 1, 2013, LINC became LNCA (Laboratory of Cognitive and Adaptive Neurosciences), the current name of the laboratory. These almost 40 years of history have seen the laboratory’s staff grow from 6 people at LNC to close to 60 at LNCA. The small and scarce premises that initially housed the laboratory, scattered throughout a building shared with geologists, geographers, a chemist, and of course, psychologists, have now become a cohesive unit covering more than 1300 square meters of animal facilities, experiment rooms, and offices. Its director has been Jean-Christophe Cassel, a professor at the University of Strasbourg, until end of 2023. On January 1, 2024, a new director followed: Dr. Chantal Mathis, a research director at the CNRS. The LNCA now encompasses 6 research groups.