Engineering techniques for system neuroscience

We apply engineering techniques like neuronal modeling and biorobotics to study : 

  • Search strategies and their neural correlates: Animals and robots searching for chemical sources face similar problems. We investigate olfactory search strategies in insects by means of physiological recordings, computational modeling and robotic experiments. Models of search processes are important not only to biology, but also to applications in robotics (e.g. environmental monitoring, detection and localization of chemical, biological and radiological risks).
  • GABAergic mechanisms in neuronal synchrony and brain oscillations: Neuronal synchrony and brain oscillations are thought to be involved in the processing of sensory and motor information. We use computational modelling to gain insights into the role of GABAergic inhibition in brain oscillations.

Relevant publications:

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Pannequin R., Jouaiti M., Boutayeb M., Lucas P., Martinez D. (2020) Automatic tracking of free-flying insects using a cable-driven robot. Science Robotics.

Martinez D., Clement M., Messaoudi B., Gervasoni D., Litaudon P., Buonviso N. (2017) Adaptive quantization of local field potentials in freely moving animals: an open-source neural recording device. Journal of Neural Engineering.

Zennir M.N., Benmohammed M., Martinez D. (2017) Robust path planning by propagating rhythmic spiking activity in a hippocampal network model. Biologically Inspired Cognitive Architectures.

Martinez D. (2014) Klinotaxis as a basic form of navigation. Front. Behav. Neurosci., 8:38, doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2014.00275: PDF with Supplementary Information

Martinez D., Arhidi L., Demondion E., Masson J.-B. and Lucas P. (2014) Using insect electroantennogram sensors on autonomous robots for olfactory searches. J. Vis. Exp (JoVE), (90), e51704, doi:10.3791/51704: VIDEO

Martinez D., Chaffiol A., Voges N., Gu Y., Anton S., Rospars J.-P. and Lucas P. (2013) Multiphasic On/Off pheromone signaling in moths as neural correlates of a search strategy. PLoS ONE, 8(4): e61220. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0061220: PDF with Supplementary Information

Martinez D. (2007) On the right scent. Nature, 445, pp. 371-372.

Belmabrouk  H., Nowotny T., Rospars J.-P. and Martinez D. (2011) Interaction of cellular and network mechanisms for efficient pheromone coding in moths. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 108(49):19790-19795.

Martinez D. (2005) Oscillatory synchronization requires precise and balanced feedback inhibition in a model of the insect antennal lobe. Neural Computation, 17, pp. 2548-2570.


Search strategies and their neural correlates:

At short distance from the source where diffusion dominates, Drosophila larva or C. elegans orient toward chemo-attractants by klinotaxis. Recently, we showed that Drosophila larval klinotaxis can be seen as proportional navigation (Martinez 2014).

Far from the source, the turbulent nature of mixing causes fluctuations and intermittency in perception (Martinez, 2007). Pheromone-tracking male moths appear to deal with discontinuous flows of information by surging upwind, upon sensing a pheromone patch, and casting crosswind, upon losing the plume.This On/Off response may be mediated by an intrinsic neuronal mechanism; that is, a small-conductance calcium-activated potassium (SK) channel (Martinez et al., 2013).