Lallemend Lab - research focus

We are interested in understanding how the sensory signals are processed to initiate behavioral responses.

Collage of two illustrations.
Left: Modified cross section through a crista ampullaris of the vestibular system (Image: Laura Fontanet). Right: Cross section through dorsal root ganglia showing molecular types of neurons (Image: Haohao Wu).

Research focus

Our research delves into the development, organization, and function of neuronal circuits that enable auditory perception and proprioception, the sense of body position.

The nervous system is primarily sensory-perceptual, emphasizing the significance of our sensory experiences in our daily lives. Typically, processing sensory information is a subconscious and automatic process that provides the in- and outside contexts necessary for us to make sense of the world and interact with our environment. Deficits in sensory systems not only disconnect us from experiencing reality but also affect brain function and contribute to behavioral problems beyond the sensory defect. Therefore, understanding the biological principles behind sensory perception and their contribution to health and disease requires decoding the physical substrates for specific conscious and unconscious percepts, as well as how sensory inputs are centrally processed. 

In my lab, we believe that deconvoluting sensory systems into specific molecular types of cells in vivo provides unique access to neuronal pathway specificity, significantly increasing our understanding of how sensory circuits organize, register, and integrate in- and outside sensory inputs for appropriate behavioral responses. Furthermore, we strongly believe that understanding how these molecular types of neurons emerge and diversify during development, and how they change phenotypes (molecular plasticity) upon modifications of the environment (including during aging) will greatly help develop new strategies for restoring or improving sensory perception in affected individuals.

To understand the various levels of organization of sensory systems, we adopt a comparative multi-sensory system approach to identify central but also unique principles of sensory neuroscience. We integrate different levels of analysis, modalities, and techniques to advance both basic research and translational neuroscience. 

In conclusion, our research aims to increase our comprehension of how the brain integrates information from various modalities to generate appropriate behavioral responses.

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