Le cerveau multidimensionnel

Accueil > Integrative & Computational Neuroscience > Daniel Shulz Team

Sensori-motor processing and Plasticity

Tactile information is acquired and processed in the brain through concerted interactions between movement and sensation. We study neuronal processes responsible for the coding of sensorimotor information by using a comprehensive approach including electrophysiological, imaging, optogenetic and behavioral strategies in rodents. Our general strategy is to probe the brain with controlled natural tactile inputs in vivo, in order to gain understanding of the functional architecture of the system and the plasticity rules that underlie perceptual learning and motor control. Our laboratory is the only one in the world to have developed a 24 whisker stimulator (the Matrix) which allows multidirectional whisker deflections at behaviorally relevant speed and acceleration. The Matrix allowed us to explore new paradigms that are changing the way we consider the functional organization of the somatosensory system, from a labeled line to a more distributed and flexible cortical coding. Within the framework of closed-loop neuroscience, we explore general rules of sensorimotor adaptation by developing brain-machine interfaces used as a probe for studying the neuronal code and its adaptation by reinforced learning. Our approach is original and out of the main stream since instead of applying adaptive decoding algorithms, we fix the algorithms and require the brain to adapt to them allowing the study of the plasticity capacities of the brain and the embodiment of external devices.

In the last 5 years, our main scientific achievements are :

- To demonstrate a new radial map of multi-whisker correlation selectivity in the barrel cortex (with L. Bourdieu, ENS, Paris, Estebanez et al., Nature Commun. 2016)

- To reveal using VSD imaging a spatial organization of global direction preference in the mouse barrel cortex (Vilarchao et al., Cell Reports, 2018)

- To demonstrate that rats can use whiskers to discriminate textures without actively whisking, an ability that depends on barrel cortex activity (Kerekes et al., J. Neurosci. 2017, Comment in This Week in The Journal by Teresa Esch)

- To show that operant conditioning of cortical neurons is a feasible way to produce a graded control of a prosthetic device by the rate of neural discharge (Arduin et al., J. Neurosci. 2013, Frontiers in Neuroprosthetics, 2014, Abbasi et al. 2018)

 

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