LNSC - UMR 7260

Sensory and Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory

Directrice : Béatrice Alescio-Lautier

Fédération de Recherches 3C “Comportement – Cerveau – Cognition”
Campus St Charles - Case B
3, place Victor Hugo
CS 80249
13331 Marseille CEDEX 3
France

The scientific objectives of the Sensory and Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory (LNSC) consist of:

  • Advancing our understanding of neural mechanisms and processes involved in normal or pathological functioning of sensory systems.
  • Analyzing how these systems interact to sustain body perceptions and extra-personal space, and the underpinning cerebral mechanisms and mental representations.
  • Understanding how cognition modulates these perceptions and representations.
  • Designing new cognitive rehabilitation methods, assessing their potential to promote sensory and/or cognitive recovery, and gaining insight into the cerebral mechanisms engaged in this recovery.

Experiments conducted on animals (rat, guinea pig and cat) and humans include a wide range of techniques to explore phenomena in a complexity of gradient from neurons to cognition (immunohistochemistry, confocal imaging, magnetic resonance spectroscopy, electrophysiology, in vivo optical imaging, anatomical and functional MRI, behavior and psychophysics).

Pictures from the LNSC laboratory

Research teams

The LNSC is composed of 4 teams:

  • Neuronal Dynamics and Audition team
  • Pathophysiology and Therapy of Vestibular Disorders team
  • Multisense and Body team
  • Sensory and Cognitive Rehabilitation team

Each team carries out research in both humans and animals to better apprehend the neural bases (peripheral and central) of the phenomena under study and their cognitive and behavioral correlates.

All LNSC teams are affiliated to the neuroscience master’s program and can thus train neuroscience master’s students and offer them projects to apply for a Ph.D. scholarship.

Sensory and coginitve rehabilitation (Béatrice Alescio-Lautier)

The Body and cognition team studies interactions between cognitive and sensori-motor functions at different organization levels, by combining cross-disciplinary approaches (behavior, neuro-imaging, neurophysiology, neurology, oto-neurology).

Members 

ALESCIO-LAUTIER Béatrice, ACKERLEY Rochelle, AIMONETTI Jean-Marc, BACHELARD-SERRA Mathilde, BEAULIEU Louis-David, BOREL Liliane, CHAMBON Caroline, CHANCEL Marie, DEMANZE Laurence, DEROUALLE Diane, KAVOUNOUDIAS Anne, LOPEZ Christophe, MICHEL Bernard, PABAN Véronique, PANN Alizée, RIBOT-CISCAR Edith, ROMAIGUERE Patricia, TOUZET Claude. Total : 9 HDRs.

Research axes

  • Multisensory bases of the cognitive representations of the body and space
  • Cognitive and neurobiological mechanisms linkd to brain dysfunction and cognitive restoration
  • Cognitive influence on sensory and motor processes

Techniques

  • Immunostaining, histology, or flow cytometry
  • Animal surgery, stereotaxy
  • Animal behavior
  • Psychophysical tests
  • Movement or posture analysis, electromyography (EMG)
  • Brain imaging and stimulation – Man
  • Brain imaging – Animal
  • Electroencephalography (EEG)
  • Medical data analysis
  • Microneurography

Keywords

Perception, kinesthetic, sensorimotor integration, muscle proprioception, tactile, vestibular compensation, postural strategy, body representation, cognitive remediation, holistic rehabilitation

Animal cognition and behavior - Disorders of the nervous system - Human cognition and behavior - Motor systems - Novel methods and technology development - Sensory systems

Neuronal and dynamic audition (Arnaud Norena)

The “sensory processing and neuroplasticity” team investigates the sensory processing in the normal and pathological cases, i.e. after peripheral and/or central lesions. The sensory modalities we study are audition, the vestibular system and somesthesia.

In the “normal” (non-lesioned) system, we explore neural coding and central representation of sensory information. We also study experience-dependent plasticity.

In the “pathological” (lesioned system), we investigate the peripheral and/or central consequences of sensory epithelia (inner ear, for instance) and/or central lesions. The sensory deficits studied in the team are very prevalent and bothersome for patients (5% of the general population is affected by disabling hearing loss, 35% by vestibular disorders). Other aberrant perceptions are also associated to peripheral and/or central lesions, namely tinnitus (auditory perception not induced by a sound in the environment), hyperacusis (auditory hypersensitivity and/or ear pain), vertigo and chronic pain. Auditory aberrant perceptions are also investigated from psychoacoustic approaches.

Finally, we investigate functional rehabilitation strategies after peripheral and/or central lesions. Diverse approaches are used in different systems: pharmacology for the inner ear and the vestibular centers, prosthesis (cochlear implants) are used to restore audition, and stem cells are studied to restore hearing.

Members

NORENA Arnaud, BREZUN Jean-Michel, CATZ Nicolas, CAZALS Yves, CHABBERT Christian, CORBO Julien, EL HAMADI Abdessadek, FONTBONNE Arnaud, GAUTHIER Patrick, LAHLOU Hanae, LOPEZ Alejandra, MACHEREY Olivier, PEZARD Laurent, THOMATY Sandie, TIGHILET Brahim, WRZOSEK Malgorzata, XERRI Christian, ZENNOU-AZOGUI Yoh’i, ZINE Azel. Total : 8 HDRs.

Research axes

Dynamics of cortical processing of sensory information:

  • Somatosensory cortex
  • Auditory Cortex

Neuroplasticity and functional postlesional recovery:

  • Hearing disorders
  • Somatosensory cortex lesions
  • Spinal cord lesions
  • Vestibular plasticity
  • Stem cell biology and cell therapy for neurosensory deafness
  • Vestibular pathophysiology: mechanisms and markers

Techniques

  • Biochemistry
  • cell culture
  • Immunostaining, histology, or flow cytometry
  • Microscopy
  • Electrophysiology (on slices or cell culture)
  • Electrophysiology (in vivo)
  • Animal surgery, stereotaxy
  • Pharmacology
  • Animal behavior
  • Psychophysical tests
  • Movement or posture analysis, electromyography (EMG)
  • Brain imaging – Animal
  • Electroencephalography (EEG)

Keywords

Hearing ; vestibular system ; somatosensory system; neuroplasticity; neural coding; sensory lesions; inner ear; spinal cord; cortex

Animal cognition and behavior - Development of the nervous system - Disorders of the nervous system - Novel methods and technology development - Sensory systems

Multisense and body (Anne Kavounoudias)

The Multisense and Body team aims to elucidate the relative contributions and interactions of the somatosensory, vestibular, and visual sensory systems to own-body awareness, own-body movement perception, and the perception of external stimuli applied on the body. Modulation of these bodily experiences and brain plasticity after impairment of such sensory systems is also investigated (stroke, amputation, vestibular deficits, aging).

We combine transdisciplinary approaches, including electrophysiology (microneurography, cortical multiunit recordings), brain imaging (fMRI; EEG, optical imaging), and behavioral methods (psychophysics, EMG, multisensory stimulation, postural testing), in both humans and rodents.

Members

Rochelle Ackerley, Jean-Marc Aimonetti, Nicolas Catz, Anne Kavounoudias, Christophe Lopez, Edith Ribot-Ciscar, Christian Xerri, Yvette Zennou-Azogui, Jeanne Caron-Guyon, Julien Corbo, Justine Facchini, Caroline Landelle, Estelle Nakul, Anastasia Pavlidou. Total : 7 HDRs

Research axes

  • Multisensory contributions to bodily perceptions
  • Neural coding at the peripheral level
  • Neural coding at the central level
  • Adaptive plasticity in sensory systems

Techniques

  • Electrophysiology (in vivo, on animals)
  • Animal behavior
  • Psychophysical tests
  • Movement or posture analysis, electromyography (EMG)
  • Brain imaging and stimulation – Man (fMRI, TMS…)
  • Brain imaging – Animal
  • Electroencephalography (EEG)

Key words

Touch, Proprioception, Vestibular system, Perception, Corps, Plasticity

Aging, Stroke, Amputation, Vestibular-deficiency, Human, Rodent

Microneurography , EEG, fMRI, Optical imaging, cortical multiunit recordings

Animal cognition and behavior - Excitability, synaptic transmission, network functions - Human cognition and behavior - Sensory systems

Pathophysiology and therapy of vestibular disorder (Christian Chabbert)

In France and the USA, vestibular pathologies represent the third most numerous reason for consulting a physician and 5% of hospital emergencies. Our multidisciplinary research team including scientists, faculty teachers, engineers, and clinicians and constitutes a unique and leading structure for the study of the basic mechanisms of vestibular function, thereby meeting a pressing medical need in the field of otoneurology, notably by means of a bench-to-bedside approach.

The team aims to:

  • Establish a technology platform unique in Europe combining studies on animal models and patients.
  • Decipher the basic mechanisms underlying vestibular disorders and functional restoration.
  • Promote outstanding research resulting in high-level scientific production.
  • Develop better-targeted and more efficient therapeutic tools against vestibular disorders.
  • Become a key player in clinical transfer in order to have a greater impact on the management of balance disorders.
  • Promote education on the balance function and vestibular disorders.
  • Promote the visibility of research in otoneurology and foster the appeal of this scientific area in order to encourage the recruitment of the best researchers and students, and to obtain academic and private sector funding.

Members

Christian Chabbert, Brahim Tighilet, David Pericat, Jean-Pierre Lavieille, Marion Montava, Audrey Bourdet, Pierrick Bordiga, Guillaume Rastoldo, Emna Marouane, Frédéric Xavier. Total : 3 HDRs.

Research axes

  • Generation, encoding and transmission of vestibular information: function and dysfunctions.
  • Adaptive mechanisms involved in functional restoration.
  • Optimization of investigation methods to improve diagnosis of vestibular syndromes.

Techniques

  • Cell culture
  • Immunostaining, histology, flow cytometry
  • Microscopy
  • Calcium imaging
  • Electrophysiology (on slices or cells)
  • Animal surgery, stereotaxy
  • Pharmacology
  • Animal behavior
  • Movement or posture analysis, electromyography (EMG)
  • Optogenetics
  • Medical data analysis

Key words

Vestibular disorders, otoneurology, generation, encoding and transmission of vestibular information, diagnostic methods, balance.

Animal cognition and behavior - Disorders of the nervous system - Novel methods and technology development
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