Group leader: Christoph Michel
Group name: Functional Brain Mapping
Affiliation: Medical Sciences
All brain functions rely on the interactions between distributed cortical regions forming dynamic large-scale networks. Our lab focus on studying those large-scale brain networks functions and pathologies in humans and animals.
Human studies: Electromagnetic imaging based on high-resolution EEG is our principal instrument to study these questions. Our group is working on the development of spatio-temporal signal analysis techniques that allow characterizing neuronal electric activity in time and space. By integrating these data into realistic head models based on the anatomical MRI, information flow within the individual brain can be visualized. In order to enhance spatial resolution, other functional imaging techniques, in particular functional MRI are included. Besides the combination of electromagnetic and haemodynamic brain imaging techniques, our research projects also integrate direct intracranial recordings in epileptic patients, neuropsychology and lesion studies as well as transcranial magnetic stimulation. We consider this multidisciplinary approach as essential for understanding the brain mechanisms underlying human mind and the disturbances and repair possibilities of these mechanisms. Our main cognitive neuroscience research areas are: visual and auditory perception, visuo-motor integration, multisensory interaction, language, memory and emotion. The major clinical applications are the localization of epileptic activity in partial epilepsy, and the study of plasticity mechanisms after brain lesions.Animal studies: In our lab, we use animal models to better understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms of neuronal network functions and their pathologies. Animal models are complementary to our human studies because they allow for invasive electrophysiological recordings and for manipulations of brain activities that are not possible in the clinic. We notably developed simultaneous surface EEG and intracerebral recordings in the awake rodent and we combine these recordings with optogenetic excitation and inhibition of specific neuronal populations. Using this approach we can dissect the network mechanisms by which local and large-scale neuronal networks are integrated and how these processes are altered in models of brain disorders such as neonatal lesions, psychiatric diseases and epilepsy.
Group website: http://brainmapping.unige.ch