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U864 general presentation

Scientific project

The scientific project of our Unit aims at identifying the spatial and motor representations of action, as well as understanding the pathophysiology of the neurological deficits of action. Spatially oriented behaviour requires integrating several multisensory inputs (vision, touch, proprioception, audition, vestibular) allowing to represent the body and its postural and segmental configurations, the near and far peripersonal space as well as the relationships between body-parts and action target. Spatial and motor representations are built through this initial processing, leading to action planning and execution. Although several aspects of action are planned, its correct execution may benefit from sensory feedback control systems, under certain temporal constraints. These systems form the basis of online flexibility, allowing to optimise the outcome of action execution, and to efficiently amend unexpected changes of the relationship between acting body-parts and the target of action. The functional organisation between planning and flexibility is complemented by updating processing that operate on a longer-term time-scale of motor production, and that are refered to as sensory-motor plasticity. Plasticity is called into play to adapt the acting subject to an enduring modification induced either by changes in the body-space interface, or by a cerebral lesion. Our unit is specialised in the analysis of motor behaviour that allow to study these important functions, as well as in the exploration of their neural substrates (lesion studies, functional imaging, TMS).

Partnerships and collaborations

Our projects are developed in strong interaction with clinicians (adult and child rehabilitation, neurology, neuro-ophtalmology, psychiatry, neuro-orthopedics) and participate in numerous research networks involving local (35% of our publications), national (16%), European (17%) and international (20%) collaborations. These collaborations are funded by national (ANR, Avenir, PHRC, HCL) and international (Marie-Curie, ESF, PAI) funding agencies. Our foreign partners are principally in Italy, Japan, Canada, UK and Germany

Clinical and public health transfer

The clinical aspect of the project constitutes an important part of the research activity, aimed at better understanding the pathophysiology of motor diseases and improving their diagnosis, identifying the best neurological stance for the patient, and developing new rehabilitative procedures (in collaboration with hospitals and industry). Our main goals are neurological syndromes (ataxia, hemineglect, hemiplegia, sensory extinctions, oculomotor deficits, apraxia) following cerebral and cerebellar lesions (CerebroVascularAccident, Parkinson, degenerative cerebellar disease, etc), through the quantitative analysis of resulting handicaps and their rehabilitation in adults and children

Technology transfer

Our applied activities are mainly directed to medicine. Our research unit has established a plat-form for the analysis of human motor behaviour (‘Motricité et Handicap'), placed under the joint authority of the Lyon Neuroscience network (IFNL) and university hospital network (HCL). This platform allows us to develop and evaluate new rehabilitation techniques and apparatus.